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Journalist Condemns United’s Removal of Asian Passenger as an ‘Act of Racial Violence’

In a 37-part Twitter rant, Steven Thrasher asks: ”Would a white woman have been dragged like this?“

Steven Thrasher, a writer-at-large and columnist at the Guardian, went on a 37-part Twitter rant on Monday, declaring United Airlines’ choice to forcibly drag off an Asian passenger as “an act of racial violence against an Asian man.”

“Would a white woman have been dragged like this?,” Thrasher asks.

“I can’t in a MILLION YEARS believe a blond woman would be yanked off like that by a cop,” he adds. “Whole plane woulda been deplaned first!”

Thrasher, who often writes about race and LGBT issues for the publication, cites Jordan Peele’s racially-tinged horror “Get Out” in several of the tweets.

“A recurring concern of people of color in the US: who can touch & control your body? It’s dramatized by GET OUT, United & cops alike,” reads his 31st tweet on the chain.

Elsewhere, he also references “Ghost in the Shell,” “Aloha” and “The Great Wall” — three films accused of Hollywood whitewashing.

Thrasher tweets: “Asian bodies have been violently moved by the US state via Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 & Executive Order 9066 (Japanese Internment)… & erased in visual culture in GHOST IN THE SHELL, DR. STRANGE, ALOHA, GREAT WALL, etc…”

A video posted Sunday by Audra D. Bridges shows three men wearing security jackets speaking with a man seated on the plane. After a few seconds, the men grab the passenger, who begins to scream before being dragged by his arms toward the front of the plane. Other passengers are visibly shaken from the event.

A United spokesperson told TheWrap in an email Monday that the passenger had been taken off the flight because it was overbooked and one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily.

Bridges captioned the video, “We are on this flight. United airlines overbooked the flight. They randomly selected people to kick off so their standby crew could have a seat. This man is a doctor and has to be at the hospital in the morning. He did not want to get off. We are all shaky and so disgusted.”

In his thread, Thrasher says that the “unhealthy logic in thinking if the Asian man refused to give up his seat that the appropriate response was state violence… is often applied to Black men and police – If he’d obeyed he’d be alive!”

In Thrasher’s eyes, United Airlines should have “SIMPLY WAITED” for the passenger to vacate his seat. “So much American violence could be mitigated by WAITING,” he tweets.

One of the officers who dragged the passenger off the flight was placed on leave Monday for not following standard operating procedures, according to the New York Post. The company’s CEO said the airline is, meanwhile, conducting its own probe of the incident.

To read Thrasher’s full thread, head to his Twitter page.