America's Fabric is Tearing
Image Courtesy: Channel NewsAsia

America's Fabric is Tearing

A Chinese American was brutalized and dragged off a United Airlines flight after all passengers had boarded by three airport cops in order to make room for a United employee. He was a doctor en route to his office and patients, and traveling with his wife. He held a perfectly legal ticket and seat. He was doing absolutely nothing to engender such behavior by United or the Chicago airport police. He was a traveler like all others.

But United’s friendly skies were not so friendly. The company behaved like a union of thugs intent on going to any extent to attend to their needs over those of their paid customers. Very stupid for United, and even sadder for America.

And, if you think China was going to ignore such brutal behavior and corporate misuse of power, you are wrong. This is the biggest news item there today, fully replacing yesterday’s attention to Trump’s recent bombing of Syria. That China is outraged by the abridgement of human rights within the United States says volumes about how much and quickly things have changed America.

While China focused on the abused passenger’s heritage, news in this country barely mentioned that the passenger dragged off the plane was an immigrant. In fact, almost all the coverage, and there was lots of it, said absolutely nothing about the fact that abused passenger clearly looked different from the average (if there is such a thing) American. United Airlines could see it, and clearly thought the man would be a good one to throw off the plane.

As a nation, we are losing our rich and distinctive social fabric and replacing it with ignorant and boorish thuggery. I am embarrassed for America. I am distressed for America. I am scared. I personally hope that United will go out of business over this action. And, I hope America will see in this most unfortunate incident the flashing light that it is. America’s very fabric is tearing.

Daniel Socolow
Daniel Socolow: President, Socolow Group. Former Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program, President of the American University of Paris, Vice President of Spelman College. BA, MA, Ph.D.

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  • Rick

    April 11, 2017

    Silly article. Imagine this man trying this stunt in China. Altering travel schedules and passengers' reservations is the prerogative of public transportation entities around the world. This passenger squealed like a two-year old child, slipped and smacked his face on the armrest while being wrestled out of his seat and got a bloody lip. So childish and unnecessary. The other three passengers that gave up their seats did not act this way. This man could've rented a car and driven from Chicago to Louisville if no other flights were available.

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