"I'm being selected because I'm Chinese"
The viral video of Dr David Dao being dragged off a United Airlines flight has caused quite a stir on Chinese social media, with many citing race as a cause.
By now, the viral video has already racked up over 330 million views across Chinese social media including Weibo and WeChat, resulting in hundreds of thousands of comments.
In the west, the video gained traction with United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz adding fuel to the flame by claiming the victim was “disruptive” and “belligerent”. From the video, it was clear that the victim was of Asian heritage. This triggered many to question whether race was involved with the “random selection” process carried out by the airline.
Star Trek actor John Cho Tweeted “It’s hard not to see a connection between the environment Trump has created and what happened on that @united flight”.
The victim has since been identified as Dr David Dao, a Chinese-Vietnamese doctor from Kentucky, who reportedly shouted “I’m being selected because I’m Chinese” as he was being forcibly removed from the aircraft.
Racial sentiment was felt in China too, but the reason is more deeply embedded in the country’s perception of America.
Foreign Policy reports that the immigrant Chinese community in the US “tends to blame its problems not on the white power structure but on supposed favouritism shown to blacks”. The news source goes on to site resentment amongst the Chinese elderly in America for affirmative action that prevents their children from attaining places in college.
This could relate directly to the perception of the United Airlines case, with many on Chinese social media saying “They would never have done this to a black person!”
FP concludes that the perception is: “Americans are sensitive about racism — but only against blacks, not against the (more deserving) Chinese. American security forces would thus never dare to beat up innocent black people, only the hapless Chinese.”
Some even question the multicultural equality that America prides itself on. Gao Dinyuan, a member of the Binzhou City Internet Culture Association, wrote in a Weibo post: “Where’s the freedom and equality that (America) promised? Where’s promise of the acceptance of people in different colours? Are these just political lies from American politicians?”
“What if all Asians boycott United Airlines? Will that airline collapse?,” one of the users wrote.