Maybe Gov. Pat McCrory and the N.C. Department of Transportation are onto something.
Sure, it’s culturally and politically insensitive to start branding people with labels on their driver’s licenses. Right enough, many of the people who would receive these special provisionary licenses are Hispanic immigrants who were brought to this country as children and haven’t committed serious offenses.
Okay, so it’s not that great a leap to compare actions like this to demanding that people wear patches on their clothes to broadcast their religious affiliation.
That’s what brought together church leaders in Chapel Hill on Sunday to protest the licenses that would proclaim “NO LAWFUL STATUS.” John Friedman, senior rabbi of Durham’s Judea Reform Congregation, said members would add pink tape to their licenses in solidarity with the immigrants.
David Mateo, associate pastor at United Church of Chapel Hill, said the markings appear designed to humiliate and oppress those who carry it.
“Beyond the motivations of putting the color on the driving license, [it’s] just saying to the community, ‘We know who they are and what they are,'” he said. “The purpose of the driving license is not that. It’s just to say ‘This is all right, you can drive.’ But it’s become an instrument of repression in some way.”
But those who are so offended by this should consider looking at it from another point of view. Maybe the pink-striped license is just a good start.
We’ve already got labels for corrective vision and organ donors, right?
Maybe we can just start cranking out a bunch of new labels so that no one feels left out.
– Black-and-white checkered flag: DRIVES TOO AGGRESSIVELY
– Snarling dog face: RAISED BY WOLVES
– Glowing smart phone: TEXTS DURING MOVIES
– Bottle in a bag: ALCOHOLIC
– Dark blue border: DUKE FAN
– Light blue border: TAR HEELS FAN
– Crimson border: WOLFPACK FAN
– Burning cross: UNREPENTENT RACIST
– Unmade bed: SLEEPS AROUND
– Hands on keyboard: HIDEOUS INTERNET TROLL
– Nose with a clip on it: SNORES
– Crying baby: WON’T PAY CHILD SUPPORT
– Dollar bill with an X over it: DOESN’T TIP
– Teary eyes: CRIES DURING THE FIRST 10 MINUTES OF “UP”
– The word “Oops:” UNDERPAYS UNDOCUMENTED YARD WORKERS, BUT WANTS THEM TO WEAR LABELS
Well, on second thought, we see how this could get out of hand. It’s a bad idea. It’s unfair. And it’s insensitive. The reason these immigrants are getting licenses is because they are putting themselves on the grid and acknowledging their heritage. They have to renew every two years until they earn citizenship, regardless of whether they drive.
They don’t need that status splashed around every time they open their wallet.
Don ‘t do this unless we’re all ready to bear our own labels too.