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.

  • Djaye Journay

    And frankly, the reason he was ‘randomly’ chosen and not the big, burly non-Asian sitting in front of him is obvious to me. He represented no threat to the officers pulling him off, and they figured he’d go peaceably. What a major brain fart on the part of United and the brute squad they sent in. I’m still in shock.

    • Ari

      Not to mention that the CEO only doubled down on the foolishness.

  • TwoMinutesHate

    Awesome stuff as always, but the Dr is Vietnamese, not Chinese. As a Vietnamese guy myself, I’m sure we’d all appreciate the shout out.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4401444/Name-man-hauled-United-flight-Chicago-revealed.html

  • Val

    Welp, United’s stock has fallen. Which means most people sympathize with the doctor. So, was this really a Black moment? No one ever sympathizes with us when this sort of thing happens to us.

    • Ari

      Nope.

    • Dustin John Seibert

      All in the optics. If an old black man looking like Bill Cobb was captured on video being dragged off a plane, I bet the sympathy would still be there.

      If it was someone looking like Kendrick Lamar on his new album cover?? Maybe not.

    • catgee12

      True …

    • AsamiSato

      I think the fact that it was on an airplane is what makes people more sympathetic… being subjected to indignity while flying is a common experience for white middle class people and they can relate to it. They can’t relate to not trusting the police to not bash your head in or kill your child because that just doesn’t happen to them. I imagine there would be more criminalizing of a black victim but I think the vast majority of people would still be outraged if it was an older black man who was a paying customer on a flight (the latter part being the key because it is something people can relate to).

      • Val

        History tells me you are wrong. I’m not aware of a case of a Black person being brutalized inspiring any sort of mass outrage from White folks.

        • Spicy Kas

          Per revisionist history they all stood shoulder to shoulder with MLK, Rosa Parks, and Muhammad Ali

          • La Bandita

            After this is over ALL of them would be BLM activists too. Be sure to correct them Spicy Kas.

    • Brown Rose

      Nope. This is horrible and those cops deserve what is coming to them, but if the victim was Black, they would have been blaming him and no one would have any sympathy. none.

  • Mel

    Handle that at the gate, don’t make people board to take the seat they PAID for then expect to deplane because of your poor planning without offering something major. Once he said he was a Dr. and had patients he had to see, shuffle off to someone else. You don’t turn a flight into Fight Club or the Hunger Games.

    • Holy Room

      Shuffle off to someone else?! Nah nuccas handle your inside issues do NOT involve your customers. I got things to do, too.

      • Mel

        Sweeten the deal, free trip for two, raise the financial carrot, someone would have taken it. He said he didn’t want’ to and they should take their little song and dance to the next person.

    • Michelle is my First Lady

      Yup, that was the commentary this morning. All of the issues should have been handled at the gate before any of the passengers boarded the plane. And an airlines company is required to make sure the passenger that has been removed is supposed to be on their way to their destination within an hour.

  • Dustin John Seibert

    I maintain that they picked the “docile” older Asian couple thinking they wouldn’t get any static. And things went sharp left.

    Dear god in heaven that man is about to get paid. Time to retire.

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      The computer selected people at random. He wasn’t chosen, nor did he volunteer

  • catgee12

    Also … the doctors “criminal” history has made it’s way out … he allegedly exchanged scrips for chex … Black blackity black …

    • AKA The Sauce

      Yep…he is def a ninja now. Y’all got his black card ready?

      • La Bandita

        He doesn’t want that dirty Black card – he spits on it. He wants his honary White card back.

    • miss t-lee

      Aw heyllll.

    • Ari

      I should’ve seen that coming.

      • miss t-lee

        A mile away.

        • MsCee

          Lawd, I just read it and WOW…they put the mans wife info on there, her educational background and the fact that they have 5 kids, which I’m assuming you could easily find their names too. That’s fawked up.

          • miss t-lee

            Exactly.
            See how quickly they wanna throw your whole azz family under the bus for some ish that they did wrong?
            Sickening.

    • Michelle is my First Lady

      How fitting.

    • MsCee

      I knew they were gonna smear the ish outta him. Smh

  • AKA The Sauce

    “the Chinese doctor recently dragged off of a United Airlines flight — who we’re sure is in fact Chinese because he reportedly literally said “I’m selected because I’m Chinese” before being dragged — wasn’t quite a ninja for a day, but was definitely treated like one. And then United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz added to the ninjafication of this ordeal by describing the doctor as “disruptive and belligerent” and apologized for having to inconvenience the other passengers.”

    Yea…he pretty much said to everyone…this happened because he acted like a ninja. Nobody feel bad for him and his ninja ways (by ninja I me negro). Minorities need to band together at this point. We too separate in our resistance. They picking us off one by one…but silver lining in all of this for Dr. Dao…at least they didn’t shoot you….just saying.

  • Phoebe Cohen

    Depression. I hope United’s stock plummets because of this. I suppose we should be grateful 45 hasn’t sent a congratulatory tweet to United for taking a hard line on recalcitrant immigrant ticket holders.

    • AKA The Sauce

      ” we should be grateful 45 hasn’t sent a congratulatory tweet to United for taking a hard line on recalcitrant immigrant ticket holders.”

      It’s coming..give him til the end of the week.

    • Michelle is my First Lady

      Honestly, I hope the doctor gets his face plastered on the side of every United plane. They might as well change United’s name to David Dao airlines.

    • Spicy Kas

      Stock price I believe went up because wall street read it as they have more demand than they can handle.

      • Michelle is my First Lady

        I heard this morning that United’s stock went down as a result of this incident.

        • Spicy Kas

          You are correct. It held steady yesterday.

          • Lea Thrace

            China social media has a hold of it today. United is pretty huge in the Chinese market. It’s going to tank more before the week is out.

            (I dont even think dude is Chinese. lol)

      • Val
      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        It’s maybe lost a dollar, maybe

        • Spicy Kas

          Down today, so I stand corected

  • Skegeeaces

    What did brother Malcolm say? Chickens coming home to roost? Pretty soon, corporations and police will be treating EVERYONE like a n*gga; White, Chinese, Latinos, too. Can’t let folks in power trade in violence too long before the blood-lust and power-tripping bleed over into the “mainstream”.

    • browngirlgonebourbon

      But they not trying to hear you though.

      And chickens that come home to roost are always the loudest…

    • MsCee

      Dayum…so anybody can get it?

      • miss t-lee

        ANYBODY.

        • Spicy Kas

          Soon to be Everybody

          • miss t-lee

            Same difference.

      • Skegeeaces

        Starting to look like it!

    • Michelle is my First Lady

      Welp, everybody wants to be black until it is time to be black.

  • eyecande

    This is a textbook example of nobody’s free until we’re ALL free.
    (Also ::whispers:: proud model minorities, y’all still trying to keep that “badge of honor” or nah? I’m setting up an upcycling program to melt them down into something more useful like *CENSORED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER 2520* )

    • miss t-lee

      “This is a textbook example of nobody’s free until we’re ALL free.”

      Say it.

    • AsamiSato

      I hope that this is a wake up call to Asian Americans about our true status in this society. White people may act like we are part of the team as long as we behave but our status as citizens and actual human beings with dignity is always in question as long as white supremacy is a dominant force in US culture.

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