On April 9, 2017, Dr. David Dao was forcibly removed from United Express flight 3411, which was boarding in Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The flight was heading to Louisville, Ky., according to CNN.
The flight was fully booked, but a plane in Louisville required United flight members, so four passengers were asked to vacate their seats to make room for the staff to reach Louisville, according to The Independent. Passengers were first offered incentives to give up their seats and catch a flight the next day. When passengers did not give up seats, four passengers were “involuntarily” chosen to give up their spots. Dr. Dao was one of the passengers selected, but refused because he was a physician and needed to see his patients.
In response, Dr. Dao was forcibly dragged off of the plane by three security members and “awoke in [a] hospital with concussion, a broken nose and several broken teeth,” according to The Independent. The plane had to be cleaned of the blood before takeoff. It was a harrowing experience and one that, unsurprisingly, caused major outrage. So what has Dr. Dao been doing since this experience?
Dr. Dao wrote a book about racial discrimination towards immigrants
Dr. David Dao decided to write a book about his experience on the United Express flight 3411 in 2017. His book, Dragged Off: Refusing to Give Up My Seat on the Way to the American Dream (Social Injustice and Racism in America) — out March 16, 2021 — takes Dr. Dao’s tragic experience but looks at the larger picture in his life. While United gave Dao a multi-million dollar settlement, according to The Independent, he still felt the experience was rooted in systemic racism.
His publisher, Mango Publishing, explains that Dao’s book takes into account his life as a Vietnamese refugee, explaining: “In the tradition of contemporary immigrant stories comes a personal narrative of the many small but significant acts of racial discrimination faced on the way to the American Dream.”
Dragged Off illustrates how the act on the United flight was so much more than that one day. “Why was Dr. Dao so adamant on his right to a seat?” Mango Publishing asked. “His entire life had led to that moment.” According to the publishers, after Dao left Vietnam, he was later stranded in the Indian Ocean and finally reached the United States, where he had to enroll in medical school for the second time in his life. From there, he “built a practice and started a family.” The incident on the United flight is one moment in his long and arduous story.
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