<p>The plate has been met with horror on social media</p>

The plate has been met with horror on social media

Social media

We all know personalised number plates are naff, but they can also be offensive, as one car in California has painfully demonstrated.

The SUV, proudly displaying a Trump sticker on its rear-view mirror, has been pictured bearing the licence plate “ASN FLU”.

The image, which was originally posted to social media on March 31, has sparked fury online given the spike in anti-Asian hate crime seen across the US since the start of the Covid pandemic.

Facebook user Melissa Ramirez shared the snap, writing: “This was sent to me by a friend of mine- her friend was behind this car. WTF? Come on...really? What kind of person “bleeping” does this?”

A caption to the photo read: “This is why calling it the ‘China Flu’ or ‘Kung Flu’ is so dangerous. Now it’s just the ‘Asian Flu’.”

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It continued: “People like this aren’t just ignorant, but they actively spread hate. Hate which has led to a surge in violence against Asians.”

“If you think you know someone who thinks this is ok, please say something. Let’s stand together, educate those that will listen, and embrace those that support.”

Law enforcement agencies across America are scrambling to better protect Asian communities as a wave of violence against them continues to surge.

A recent report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, showed that while hate crimes overall had fallen slightly in 2020, crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) had jumped by 145 per cent.

After the coronavirus began its deadly onslaught, Donald Trump routinely blamed China for “unleashing” the disease on the world.

The former president has often peddled terms such as the “China virus and “Kung Flu,” ignoring the World Health Organisation’s calls not to attach locations or ethnicity to Covid-19.

But although one would be forgiven for assuming that the “ASN FLU” licence plate was a recent creation (particularly given the car owner’s support of Trump), it turns out that an application for the licence was approved in 2006.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) confirmed this in a statement to AsAm News, but was unable to explain why it gave the number plates the go-ahead at the time.

“The DMV currently does not have the authority to cancel this type of plate due to the court ruling in the Ogilvie case,” a DMV spokesperson told the outlet.

In November, a US District Court ruled that the DMV cannot ban what it considers “offensive to good taste and decency” owing to the First Amendment.

Still, if the owner of that car has any sense of decency, seeing the upset the plate has caused, they will remove it and move on.

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