Over the Rainbow: The Beating Aboard United Flight 3411

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This is a story about what we have in common.

The initial reaction to the beating of David Dao, a 69-year old Asian American United Airlines passenger, in front of a filled-to-capacity plane, ignored the fact that the victim was a person of color.

Even though Dao cried out during the beating that he was being targeted because he was Asian, his race only became a topic after millions of foreigners – Chinese – became angry over his beating.

But here, in America, amidst our rainbow of diversity and the backdrop of protests sparked by liberal outrage over the election of President Trump, the silence roared. Diversity flows throughout the beating and its aftermath.

The cop who beat David Dao is black. Oscar Munoz, the CEO of United Airlines, is Hispanic. CEO Oscar Munoz, a minority success story and first in his Mexican-American family to graduate from college, makes no mention of David Dao’s race in his belated apologies on behalf of his company.

Why doesn’t Munoz empathize with a person who felt singled out for their race? Munoz must have felt similarly at some point in his life. Did he just forget? Or did he just leave behind such memories at the door to the United Airlines boardroom?

What about the black transit officer who beat Dao? Surely, he heard Dao’s protest at being selected because he was Asian and heard Dao’s screams of fear and pain. Where was his compassion for a fellow person of color who believed he was being singled out and beaten based on race? Maybe the officer forgot that sense of compassion or left it behind when he put on his uniform.

A smirking passenger seen in the posted video is white. No doubt scores of other passengers were white too. No doubt other passengers were Hispanic. No doubt other passengers were LGBT. Their individual and collective lack of action and protest roars also.

But so does ours.

All of us who viewed this beating as something that only happened to someone else implicitly support the silence and inaction.

We stand united with the cop, the CEO, the passengers, the media, and other people of color.

I told you this was a story about what we have in common.

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