The fact that someone actually came up with this question and thought it was good to ask amazes me. During a press conference, David Dao’s lawyer, Thomas Demetrio, spoke about his client, the man who was brutally removed from his United Airlines flight, and said that a supporter compared him to Rosa Parks.
“Dr. Dao, I believe to his great credit, has come to understand that he is the guy, the guy to stand up for all passengers going forward,” Demetrio said. He went on to say that someone emailed him saying Dao was the “Asian version of Rosa Parks.”
USA Today apparently spent some time on Twitter and came across a few tweets comparing Dao to Parks:
Let’s dissect this horrible, flawed reasoning real quick.
Parks was made to sit at the back of the bus because of her race, and she protested it during the thick of segregation and the civil rights movement. With Dao, there were no signs stating, “Asians to the back of the plane.” He wasn’t protesting segregation. And even though his civil rights were violated by the abusive officers, he isn’t in any way, shape or form our new Rosa Parks.
What Dao did shed light on was the fact that he was probably treated the way he was because he’s a minority. And that United Airlines has some fucked-up policies about passenger removal. I seriously doubt that the airline would have treated a white passenger in that manner.
But unless Dao has been out there in the streets protesting, taking a stand against discrimination, speaking on behalf of, say, women’s rights and putting in the work, then the comparisons to Parks probably have her rolling in her grave and saying, “Nah.”