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Man Says License Plate Isn't A Slur, Just His Nickname

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A Minnesota man is considering legal action after the state told him he had to change his license plates.

"Beaner has been my nickname since the day I was born," Jeremy Wiese, of Albany, said.

Wiese isn't sure how his dad came up with his nickname, but it stuck with him -- enough to put it on business cards, race cars, and 10 years ago, his license plate.

"It's been great," Wiese said. "But we just got back from vacation this summer and there was a letter in the mail stating that they wanted an explanation as to what it means."

The letter reads in part: "your plate has been flagged because we believe it is a racial slur."

Beaner License Plate
(credit: CBS)

The word "beaner" originated as derogatory term for Mexicans.

Wiese says he never intended to offend anyone, and explained the backstory to the Driver and Vehicle Services, a division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

His appeal was denied.

DVS said his license plate did not comply with the law that states no personalized plates can be obscene, indecent or immoral.

In February, the department was under scrutiny when photos of a Minnesota license plate reading "FMuslims" surfaced online. Those plates were revoked.

"It can be [a slur] if you take it in that context," Wiese said. "That's my name."

Wiese says he was going to get new plates but changed his mind.

He likes having the word along with his wife's vehicle that has her name on the plates. He has contacted an attorney for an appeal.

If Wiese doesn't change his plates, the state says he could be ticketed because they'd no longer be valid. He can replace them for free.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety reviewed nearly 100,000 license plates in Minnesota. It flagged nearly 50 of them as offensive.


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