No one must fear accusations of race-baiting if they are objectively examining if race played a role in any incident whether it occurred or not. Racial bias is a tough subject to address because of the subtleties that go unnoticed by most, especially for those that never have to worry that their abundance of melanin may affect their daily journey through life.
This morning I wrote a piece about the Asian doctor forcibly removed from a United airplane. I purposefully, after much thought, elected to specify ethnicity. The title I used "Passengers horrified: United violently removes Asian doctor from overbooked flight (VIDEO)" apparently 'horrified' a few of my readers.
Some readers did not even contemplate that this incident had a racial component. That is just how they saw it.
Will Crowder Why does the title have to point out he's Asian? Why couldn't you have said "Doctor"? Aside, United is trash. #BoycottUnited #BoycottUnitedAirlines #UnitedFightClub
Juny Bayard Didn't need Asian or doctor. This person paid for his seat, he was a paying customer.
Gary Garcia Yeah, lost credibility with me when they made it racial. This story has nothing to do with race.
Patrick Kenedy This is so wrong. That's obvious. One other thought: what does it matter is is Asian? He's a paying customer, a passenger and I would do exactly what he did.
Gary Garcia Really? You had to define the problem by race? Stupid.
Some readers looked at it from a perspective governed by the realities many refuse to see through self-selective blinders.
Bernard Simsic So if it don't matter what his race was why didn't they pick a anglo male I'm sure they outnumbered the Asian fellow 100 to 1 why they need his seat specifically??
Lahela Way Because when was the last time you saw a white person dragged off a flight due to over booking? And Dr? Because he made them aware that he was one with patients that had appointments with him the next day. It's called special circumstances.
I responded quickly after spotting the first comment implying race-baiting because I wanted it known that the title was, in fact, deliberate.
I really thought hard before I put Asian in the title. But I wanted to create the discourse on that issue as well. I did not want an antiseptic discussion of violence by the airline as if it would have occurred to anyone irrespective.
As a person of color, I have seen too many times when I have been the one arbitrarily picked to be inconvenienced even at times when I am the only person of color.
We should be careful to not make everything about race. But we also must be careful to not discount the possibility when empirical realities point in that direction because it leaves the aggrieved no recourse. We must examine many of these events in real time because as it attenuates in our psyche, stories and 'realities' change.
Again, I am not race baiting here. I want folks to look through my eyes. Look through the eyes of those who feel they are aggrieved for a change. I mentioned another story I re-posted about an Aisan woman in the post and her experience with an AirBnB host just as an eye opener.
This type of examination is not an attack on good people. It is a request to open our eyes to our American reality. Only when we do that can we extricate all the diseased part of our society.
But there was a comment that irked me. Why? Because it was very logical in the argument that this incident could not possibly have a racial component.
Sharolyn Bird The thing here is this incident literally had nothing to do with his race, yet you are making it seem like it did. I am also a member of an oppressed race and I understand where you're coming from, but is it necessary?
I'm sorry, but that is definitely "race baiting", and really adds nothing to our conversation about racial tension in our society. Also, we can see he's Asian, and in other discussions that has come up but only to ask if race was a factor. Again, it wasn't. Airline personnel do not walk down the aisle and arbitrarily pick who gets bumped based on how they look, nor do they go by name. A simple thing I did before typing this comment was to find out what criteria airlines use to decide which passengers to bump AFTER they've attempted to get people to volunteer to leave the flight. It may be the last people to book their seats, the person paying the lowest fare, or the last to board...they go by that kind of criteria as well as seat numbers rather than names. A wee bit of research goes a long way when one is attempting to act as a journalist. As for how he was treated, I saw that as an overreactive response to his stubborn refusal to move (which I found extremely admirable) moreso than his race. I am pretty sure that if the man were white and steadfastly refused to leave, he would have been given the same treatment. If you want to "start a conversation" about the possibility of race being involved, perhaps you could try using the captioned area to do that instead, or change the headline to better reflect that this is an OPINION piece, and not a news report. Better yet, find one of the many instances of actual racism on airline flights to discuss. You might do well to also consider that you are now exploiting the fact that he's Asian to start your own conversation about race instead of discussing his rights as an American human being.
To be clear I did research how overbooking is handled before I wrote the original article. And I replied to the Facebook post that much of it is flexible and subjective.
The type of prejudice, racism, and bias people of color experience and perceive is always up against these logical arguments. Would a white doctor have been forced off the plane? Possibly but not likely. And the fact that it may happen to the privileged race is always used to neutralize the racial component and remove it from consideration. Forget that black men are three times as likely to be killed by cops. Issue after issue, whether it is mortgage rates, auto insurance rates, consumer services, etc., in the aggregate people of color always get the short end of the stick. This United story to many seems like just a continuum. But because there is an Oprah Winfrey and an 'Appalachia' many ignore that in fact, racial components in all issues require more examination than many are willing to do.
Also published on Medium.