The Asian Doctor Dragged Off A United Airlines Flight Is The Blackest Thing That Ever Happened This Week » VSB

blackest thing, Featured, Race & Politics

The Asian Doctor Dragged Off A United Airlines Flight Is The Blackest Thing That Ever Happened This Week

“Punk rock” entered our lexicon a couple decades ago as an adjective attached to things with no obvious connection to punk rock music. Instead, that phrase is used as a stand-in for a certain fuck-deprived, anti-establishment, devil-may-care ethos associated with it. And it could be used to modify anything — a person’s attitude, eating milk-less cereal for dinner, an aggressively bemused housecat, etc — without much context because the context is etched into the expression. If you were to say “That barista is totally punk rock” to the person behind you in line at Crazy Mocha this morning, it would imply, without exposition, that the barista must somehow be a bad-ass motherfucking barista.

Blackness doesn’t quite work the same way. While anyone can be punk rock, not everyone can be Black. (Hi Rachel!) There are just certain cultural and physiological and experience-based non-negotiables necessary for authentic Blackness that’ll always prevent it from being adopted. (Attempts of adoption will continue, however. But like potato salad made with kale, they’re intrinsically built to fail.)

Anyone can, however, have some Black-ass shit happen to them. And David Dao, the doctor recently dragged off of a United Airlines flight, wasn’t quite a nigga for a day, but was definitely treated like one. And then United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz added to the niggafication of this ordeal by describing the doctor as “disruptive and belligerent” and apologized for having to inconvenience the other passengers. (Please re-read those last eight words.) After reading that statement, I was immediately reminded of Henry Davis, the man who was beaten by Ferguson police and then charged with property damage because he bled on their uniforms. Which is just one of countless examples of something like that happening to a Black person; where pain is inflicted on us, and our natural and justifiable response to that pain is treated as some sort of burden and agitation. We’re the insensitive and violent ones for merely reacting to violence; for getting hit and saying “Oww. That hurt. Please stop.”

In America, this particular type of trauma-dependent gaslighting a uniquely Black phenomenon that synopsizes much of our experience here. But, as the soon-to-be-rich-as-the-fuck Dao learned, it actually happening isn’t unique to Black people.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • clownFace Prod.

    They’re already trying to dig up things from his past to justify this. But like I just saying earlier, when it’s a white guy who shoots 10 people, they can’t wait to tell us how nice he was, how quiet he was, how he spent his life helping old women cross the street, how he spent his spare time at the Red Cross donating his rare blood type, etc.

  • Courtney Wheeler

    This just makes me miss Virgin America even more.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtyfiPIHsIg

    • Val

      Yeah, the good airlines always get gobbled up but the lousy ones just keep keeping on.

    • ForeveryMountain

      I love Virgin as an airline, by that same token I hate AA.

      • Courtney Wheeler

        I’ve never flown AA but I heard it got better…

    • BrothasKeeper

      Jack from Black-ish @ 3:40!

      The inflatable vests was my favorite segment.

  • Jennifer

    It’s been…frustrating…to hear people say, “I can’t believe law enforcement could behave this way to somehow who hasn’t done anything.” I’ve spent the last 24 hours in a perpetual state of Kanye. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2744bf2c19c99ca08fc2e8ff6aea4ce5bf55da265f6ae8793c381f8ade3164c2.gif

    • miss t-lee

      GIRL.

    • Courtney Wheeler

      Irony isn’t even the word to describe it. You think Dr. Dao will get a nice settlement after this?

      • Sweet Ga Brown

        He got Asian lawyer lining up to help him in any way possible. The Asian community is going to turn up for this one.

        • Ari

          I just read that China is pissssed…

          • China is a huge market for United and the video is rapidly going viral in that nation.

            • Ari

              Yeah they’re already voting with their wallets and it’s working.

              • Same here. Wife and I are planning vacations and took United off our travel list.

                • Courtney Wheeler

                  Ironically I was battling United this weekend due to some awful customer service and misinformation that caused me to waste my time and money. But they knocked off a crazy amount of money off my ticket plus more points so right now I’m kinda trapped into goin on this flight. Once again…I sure miss Virgin America.

                  • miss t-lee

                    I never got to fly with them, but so many folks have sang their praises.

                  • Kwazi Style

                    funny my sis just told me the same thing.. they were giving her crap about fees returning her miles to her account after she had to cancel a flight… but she called again yesterday and she said you could pour honey on them they were so nice and accommodating. They returned her miles no charge lol

                    • Cj

                      Trying to decide how petty it would be to exploit them and get a great round trip, emmmmmm?

                • Phoebe Cohen

                  Good!

                • TheUnsungStoryteller

                  They were horrible when I was traveling international. They canceled our flight from D.C. to Indianapolis and we had to find a way back on our own. No compensation, no nothing for the trouble…we were pissed.

                  • Are you serious!?!? I would have lawyered up!

                    • TheUnsungStoryteller

                      We didn’t have the time or money to do all of that…lol. We were mostly just college kids.

              • AKA The Sauce

                Wish we could so this

              • “M”
            • miss t-lee

              Ouchie. Ouchie. Ouchie.

            • NonyaB?

              Excellent. I’ve been hoping for a significant cut like yanking a flying route back.

          • Peter Solomon

            he’s from Vietnam

        • Spicy Kas

          The Asian community turns up for its own.

          • BrizzleDizzle

            Man within an hour Asians on my feed were talking about how we can’t forget when this happens to Black or trans folks.

          • AKA The Sauce

            When will we?

            • Spicy Kas

              We do a lot more than we are given credit for

        • Ari
        • BrizzleDizzle

          Or just like any lawyer

        • AKA The Sauce

          I’m bout to get these #AsianLivesMatter shirts ready…rent is due.

          • Janelle Doe

            Smart move.
            I was wondering if this is Black enough to be co-opted by Pesi or nah
            ;-)

            • AKA The Sauce

              I mean…it could be lol

        • TheUnsungStoryteller

          Man…he got one of the largest countries in the world already behind him.

      • D-Nice

        It’s like the toddler at Disney who got killed by the alligator – remember how big of a story that was and then you never heard anything else about it – quick settlement. It’s simply not worth the PR nightmare to have this continually rehashed over months or years of litigation and media scrutiny. United will settle – they’ll naturally start “low” but they’ll up the amount if the guy and his lawyers hold out. And, once they agree on an amount, they’ll have him sign a non-disclosure agreement so he can’t talk about it to the media.

        • TheUnsungStoryteller

          The Bill O’Reilly factor…

      • TheUnsungStoryteller

        Yeah…he’s going to be just fine. He’s going to have everybody rallying for him

      • beer25

        He won’t get a dime he should of sucked it up like a man and not some wussy. United within their rights.https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/todayinthesky/2017/04/10/what-rights-do-overbooked-fliers-have-not-many/100287338/

    • Nobody should be surprised how Chicago PD handled this. It’s violence first, kill later for them.

      • Miklonis

        This situation was crazy, but there has to be some clarifications.
        1. It was the Chicago Aviation Police, not the CPD, who took the guy off the plane. The Aviation police are pseudo-cop/security guards who are unarmed (but trying to be….http://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/brown-aviation-cops-shoot-themselves-in-the-foot-in-gun-debate/ )

        2. What bugs me is that AFTER the incident, several passengers who were SO UPSET at witnessing what happened to the doctor requested to LEAVE the flight. Apparently, the $800 cash inducement and free hotel stay were not enough to get anyone to voluntarily give up their seats, BUT then they turn around and give away their seats FOR NOTHING! White folks! Refuse to give up anything that appears to be an advantage!

        3. Why was the doctor screaming like he was being taken to be shot? Why didn’t anyone volunteer their seat when they heard he was a doctor who HAD to be in Louisville for (I’m assuming) a critical surgery?

        I feel bad for him, but this is nothing like the daily inconveniences, humiliations, degradations, and denials of humanity black people incur routinely. I would’ve gladly took $800 to take a later flight. Especially if I didn’t have anywhere to be the next morning? Shoot!

        • Thanks for the clarification.

        • Jennifer

          RE: #3

          Yeah…except sometimes you just want to go TF home. Sometimes you have something to do the next day. Sometimes you’ve had a long trip. You’re exhausted. You gotta get back to your less than glamorous career that doesn’t involve saving lives. The point is — none of that mattered. Delta should have found another way. THIS was not it.

          • Miklonis

            United. But I see your point, BUT for $800 I didn’t have when the day started, and a hotel room? My exhaustion just went away. Unless I have somewhere I have to be…

            • raul

              It’s an $800 flight voucher, which I can tell you from experience is a pain to actually use, and not $800 cash.

              • HouseSublime

                Exactly. Those vouchers are BS. Can’t use them during certain dates, can’t use for international travel, they have expiration dates, you can only use a certain amount of it per flight. Basically they’re giving you a large coupon not $800 actual dollars to spend at your convenience.

          • Mary Burrell

            It was United

        • vivisfugue

          It isn’t a competition. As this case demonstrates, the set of reflexes police hone on black people can “trickle down” to anyone.

        • Hammster

          ” I would’ve gladly took $800 to take a later flight. Especially if I didn’t have anywhere to be the next morning? ”

          Even if I had some place to be at the next morning, I can’t imagine I would be able to make $800 in cold cash just by being there. At least four people could have made almost 1k just by extending their trips one day later. I doubt anyone on that flight is making $800 per day on their jobs.

          • Hammster

            Well, let me edit my statement, I doubt anyone on that flight, except Dr. David Dao, is making $800 per day on their jobs.

        • shaktinah

          He said he had patients to see at 8am the next morning.

    • Looking4Treble

      But you can bet anything you like that if this had been a brother or sister, the narrative would have been “I can’t believe that Black people always clown when asked to do something completely reasonable by law enforcement.” He might be a minority, and I am not in any way minimizing the atrocity that happened to him, but had he been Black…

      • Jennifer

        See the other article I posted in the comments.

      • Karine1976

        Since Dr Dao is having that full ninja experience, the “he should have complied” thinkpieces and comments are out there.

        • Looking4Treble

          His ninja experience wouldn’t be complete without them, huh? As if the fact that the discussion even needs to be had isn’t proof enough.

          • Diego Duarte

            *Me: is completely unsure whether to interpret the term “ninja” as interchangeable with the N-word, or whether this is some obscure reference to the fact that the man is Asian and, allegedly, has a dark past*

            Yes, I’m going to he11. Don’t worry, I’ve already packed my bags.

            • Karine1976

              Shows you how much caffeine I need because my mind did not go there.

            • Looking4Treble

              Diego, in this context it refers to the N-word and is interchangeable. You might be packed, but delay the trip.

              • Kathleencbriseno

                Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours & have longer with friends and family! !sq74c:
                On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
                !sq74c:
                ??
                ??;?? http://GoogleFinancialCashJobs364MarketRevolutionGetPaid$97/Hour ????????????????????????????????????????????????????::::::!sq74c:….,……..

        • miss em

          oh i’ve already seen a few…

      • Peter Solomon

        oh they already did..

    • cdj

      I think they lack empathy, or are just obtuse, to sit up and say that just because they’ve never experienced it, it can’t happen.

    • JBL20010

      Black people were the canary in the fascist coal mine.

      But nobody else listened.

    • `Abdu’l-Karim Ewing-Boyd
  • miss t-lee
    • Jennifer

      This is why SWA is my boo for life.

      • miss t-lee

        HAHAH.
        I’m still wondering if it’s real. Gawd I hope so!

    • cdj

      Haa!!!! Did they really do that??? I love Southwest.

      • miss t-lee

        Not exactly sure, but I want it to be true. :)

    • Phoebe Cohen

      LOL! That’s awesome! Is that a real ad from Southwest?

      • miss t-lee

        I just did a little digging, and ends up it’s a meme.
        Too bad man.

    • NoDramaCiCi

      Its perfect

    • AKA The Sauce

      Southwest and jet blue blue bout to come up

      • miss t-lee

        Indeed.

    • Holy Room

      DAMN. Love it.

    • MsCee

      Lissen….I was just telling my coworked the other day that if Southwest can’t get me there I.ain’t.going. Lol s/o to Southwest…always a great experience from beginning to end.

      • miss t-lee

        They’ve always been good every time I’ve flown with them.

    • Diego Duarte

      How to do a proper advertising campaing 101.

    • SororSalsa

      This right here took me out!

      • miss t-lee

        I can’t either. ?

    • CozyVon
      • miss t-lee

        Airplane!!!!

  • Kat

    What’s amazed me is the number of posts from black men and women saying that in essence he should have moved to the back of the bus and gave up his well paid for seat to a …..

  • D-Nice

    What a clusterf**k. I can’t believe they boarded the plane before they had obtained the four seats for the airline employees. I’ve read that possibly they didn’t know they’d need those four seats until the last minute, but then just make the usual offers and see if there are volunteers, and if not, just send your employees to Louisville via a different flight, even a different airline, or some other transportation. Ugly all around.

    Imagine if that would have been a black man or women and they objected – I’m betting not quite as much sympathy in collective internet comments and a lot of “they were being unreasonable and disruptive”, or worse “dangerous.” Maybe I’m being too cynical.

    Legally, the terms of your ticket do allow you to be pulled from the flight at any time, generally for any reason. But, airlines can’t handle it like this.

    • Jennifer

      And, they could have offered more money. The voucher only went up to $800. I’ve seen an airline offer $1200 when they desperately needed to clear up seats.

      • Sweet Ga Brown

        FACTS!

      • Ari

        It definitely would’ve costed them a lot less for them to give the passengers more $$ than it’s going to cost them now. Some people intentionally make extra money by offering up their seats in exchange for cash.

        • miss t-lee

          They’re gonna pay out way more than that 8 hundy now boyyyy.

          • Ari

            Dummies.

            • miss t-lee

              Seriously.

      • Shay

        Especially when the next flight wasn’t until the next day in the afternoon! Like naw bruh, I got ish to do.

      • Cheech

        They used to offer, you know, cash.

    • Sweet Ga Brown

      If you pay you should fly, period. The employees should have hopped another flight. If they were black the publicity would have reached social media and that’s about it. If it had reached the news, they would have tried to find a mugshot to plaster on tv and any prior offenses if any.
      However, I just flew American Airlines and I recall them sorting out a overbooked flight well before they started boarding. I thought that was standard protocol. Never after the plane is loaded full of ppl. How didi they decide who to kick off the plane?

  • AshAlly08

    I heard they were already questioning whether or not he was a doctor. SMDH

    • Ari

      The articles I read yesterday were already stating that he was “allegedly” a doctor. The fallout should be interesting to watch.

    • D-Nice

      Yeah, some people are doubting he’s actually a doctor, but, all things considered, I don’t think it matters in this case. They were pretty rough with him.

    • Sweet Ga Brown

      SMDH like it should matter. They dragged him off like he wasn’t sh!t. No one should be handled like that unless they are endangering/threatening the lives of those around them.

      • Jennifer

        If he worked at McDonald’s and needed to get home for a night shift, that would have been reason enough for me.

        • Val

          More of a reason actually. Because he would have likely lost his Micky D’s job for missing a shift.

        • cakes_and_pies

          Then people would bring up the fact that he works at McDonald’s, so how can he afford a ticket yada yada yada… shouldn’t make $15 per hour…looking for a lawsuit.

          • miss t-lee

            Whew. You already know.

          • Jennifer

            Man. POC and poor people aren’t allowed to have anything.

    • miss t-lee

      Ughhhhh.

    • Shay

      I don’t care if he was a real house husband of New Jersey, they were deadass wrong!

  • Jennifer

    The UNITED story brought the story of Dr. Rhima Coleman to my attention. I had no idea this happened. DELTA said she blew past the gate agent without scanning her boarding pass and refused to gate check her bag. After listening to United’s CEO quickly say the doctor was “irate” and “belligerent”, I still don’t believe Delta as far as I can throw a plane. She pled guilty to disorderly conduct, but I’m still skeptical.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/12/u-m_assistant_professor_idd_as.html

    I’ve seen plenty of 2520s refuse to check a bag or give up a seat. You know what the airline did in response? They found another solution.

    • Looking4Treble

      Of course they did. 2520s in almost every case get the benefit of doubt, or are accommodated even when they don’t deserve it. When it comes to us, however, the ‘solution’ seems to almost always end up with us being humiliated, dragged, or beaten, or killed. And given how often the narrative is skewed or outright falsified by the perpetrators, I am with you in doubting Delta’s version of events, even though she pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

      • Jennifer

        They mentioned her salary in the article I posted. As if her status as a PhD educated college professor should negate this type of behavior…or her behavior is proof she doesn’t deserve it. Nobody deserves to be disrespected.

  • cdj

    I’ve noticed that some people do tend to assume Asian people are docile, or that they don’t speak English well, so they won’t stand up for themselves. So doc might be right that this is why they “randomly” picked him.

    At first I was surprised to see that it looks like a black cop manhandling this guy. Then I thought about it, and remembered that for a lot of LEO, it’s BLUE, then everybody else.

    I’m disturbed that they treated a customer like this, especially an older person. And really, lack of seats for traveling employees should be a Delta personnel issue to resolve internally, instead of bothering paying customers.

    • eyecande

      It was United. Delta has been failing in other ways though.

      • cdj

        Oops. My boss flies Delta and I do his travel. It was just automatic that I assumed they were responsible: -)

    • Val

      They wasted no time suspending that Black cop though. Had he been White they would have to have had a weeks long investigation before taking action.

      • cdj

        True.

      • cyanic

        The black enforcer thought he was doing the proper dirty work for his oppressors and again it’s never enough.

    • miss t-lee

      “I’ve noticed that some people do tend to assume Asian people are docile, or that they don’t speak English well, so they won’t stand up for themselves.”

      I laugh at this. I’m always like, “you clearly don’t know any Asian folks.”

      • cdj

        Right??? Like, if you really knew how this could go down, you might want to move on to the next one and leave doc alone: -D

        In high school, I had the pleasure of watching my friend’s brother (they were Cambodian) kick this as*hole dead in his neck, because the guy kept following him doing Chinese “jokes”.

        • miss t-lee

          I live!
          I have a close friend who is Viet, she is always with the sh*ts. At all times.

      • Brown Rose

        You got that right. Man…..

    • Valerie

      “Then I thought about it, and remembered that for a lot of LEO, it’s BLUE, then everybody else.”
      Yes. Dated a cop and that how it was for him. Glad we didn’t work out.

      • cdj

        I’m glad too. I read somewhere they have higher than average rates of domestic abuse.

        • La Bandita

          And killing there spouses.

    • La Bandita

      Only Asian women. And only at night. And only with White guys.

      The rest are pretty aggressively passive aggressive.

  • I mean, Black folk been the canaries in the coal mine when it comes to this type of treatment. Being clean shaven won’t save you, having degrrrd won’t save you, achieving the American Dream like Dr. Dao did won’t save you from American violence. Would we have seen a white woman or man bloodied at the mouth like Dr. Dao?

More Like This