The internet is in a tizzy over a viral video of united airlines. The video depicts David Dao, a doctor from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, being forcibly dragged from a United Airlines flight. The incident came after United Airlines overbooked their flight. It is still unclear whether or not United complied with federal regulations regarding the practice.

According to The Courier-Journal, when asked what his injuries were, the doctor replied, "Everything." One passenger on the flight mentioned that Dao had identified himself as a doctor, and thus refused to give up his seat, because he had patients to see the next day.

Rather than simply reporting the facts of the case or the gross negligence and malice with which United handled the situation, some newspapers have gone a different route.

Some, like TMZ, have decided that an in-depth piece on the doctor was in order. Some, like the Courier-Journal have highlighted the fact that Dr. Dao had his medical license suspended due to drug-related charges as germane to the investigation into United Airlines' wrongdoing. Others, like New Republic, have noted that the fact that the dragging victim was asian.

In their article, Clio Chang writes, "But the awful treatment of this man raises an obvious question: Would the police have really done that to a white person?" The answer is almost laughably obvious to many minorities.

Resistance As Disruption

The gruesome United incident is a stark reminder of a fundamental truth of American racial politics: Resistance from a minority equals disruption. The hallmark of any situation of police brutality in America is officers lacking adequate training for de-escalating behaviors and providing the authority and the entitlement for escalating ones.

One can scarcely imagine the outrage of the American public if Michael Brown had been a white, 18 year old girl with six bullets in her back, remaining on a hot sidewalk for four hours after her death. And socially, we enact permission for these heinous acts against people we believe to be disruptive of the social order.

Tomi Lahren, perennially apoplectic host of Final Thoughts on Glenn Beck's conservative network The Blaze, held an interview with Trevor Noah of the Daily Show in which she failed three times to answer the question, "We know what you think is the wrong way for people to protest, so what is the right way?"

Lahren's evasion and outright deflection communicated that there is no reasonable answer to the question.

There is no reasonable form of dissent. Seeing as they were discussing Colin Kaepernick and his protest that consisted of simply taking a knee during the national anthem, Lahren proved that there is no method non-violent enough and minority who is compliant enough if they challenge the social hierarchy.


There are some who would challenge the assertion that an Asian person can be a minority, but that fails to take into account the racial politics of America. When Irish people came to America, they were described as "white niggers." People from the Middle East were described as "sand niggers." Japanese citizens, who America notably held in internment camps on their own soil, were referred to at one point as "yellow niggers."

What this demonstrates is that America has always created a social and cultural context that prized whiteness over blackness, and sought to direct America's energies into classifying everything into white and black, and good and bad.

It also tells us that we cannot ignore the race of the United victim in any substantive conversation on the matter.

What gets buried in the headlines and the smear campaigns is that the man on the United flight didn't have to give up his seat, and he in no way should've been treated that way when he didn't. The United incident underscores that while many Americans will fail to comply in myriad ways, only certain Americans will be punished for it.