Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in the Jim Crow South in 1955. David Dao was forcibly removed from his seat on a United Airlines flight in 2017. Does that make Dao a logical comparison to Parks? Some seem to think so, but others are swiftly shutting that notion down.
“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,” Dao’s lawyer Thomas Demetrio said at a Thursday, April 13 press conference, USA Today reported.
He added a person emailed him saying Dao was the “modern-day Asian version of Rosa Parks,” but Demetrio noted Dao’s incident was not racially motivated and that anyone could have been the victim.
Demetrio said his client is still hospitalized with a concussion, broken nose, damaged sinuses, two lost teeth and other injuries after the caught-on-tape episode.
Other people have made the same comparison between Parks, a Black woman, and the Vietnamese Dao, a doctor who refused to get out of his seat when United crew told him the flight was overbooked on Sunday, April 9. The company later backtracked on the overbooked statement, saying it was oversold and finally saying neither was the case.
— TomKing（清徽） (@bigtomking) April 11, 2017
— (((Naithom))) (@naithom) April 11, 2017
David Dao was like the asian Rosa Parks but more brutal
— Andrew (@yolksoup) April 11, 2017
This Asian Dr. that got dragged off United is the Rosa Parks of flying coach
— Juan Patron (@JuanPatronn) April 11, 2017
When Demetrio’s emailed comment made headlines, the public expressed its displeasure with the comparison.
USA Today: "Is United Airlines passenger Dr. Dao an "Asian version of Rosa Parks?"
— Denizcan James (@MrFilmkritik) April 13, 2017
What happened to Dr. Dao on his United flight was horrible, but he's not the Asian version of Rosa Parks. Y'all need to Stop it.
— Ahmed Finoh (@afinoh0904) April 13, 2017
"Dr. Doa is the modern day Asian Rosa Parks." *sighs* Are there no other names you guys can conjure up? Ghandi…Mother Teresa…Reagan…
— Shanelle Moore (@Sha_Moore) April 13, 2017
Honestly, GUERILLA and “Asian Rosa Parks” are essentially the same issue: erasure of Black women; thieving of context earned via labor.
— Studio Glibly (@NoTotally) April 13, 2017
I hereby announce that any Asian that starts with the Dr. Dao is like Rosa Parks bullshit will be blocked & have their Asian card removed.
— Mina (@QQitsMina) April 14, 2017
— Kellie Pryor (@Kellie_Pryor) April 13, 2017
One user broke down what made Parks’ act of protest different from Dao’s violent occurrence.
@USATODAY If not, then he's a citizen who deserves respect, safety and a settlement, without you turning Black ppl into caricatures for comparisons.
— Trudy (@thetrudz) April 13, 2017