Twelve African-American women were kicked off the Napa Valley Wine Train yesterday for laughing. Yes, that’s right, they were removed from the train not for being drunk (because they weren’t), but for laughing.
When did laughing while black become a crime? Did I miss the memo? Or is laughing in general a crime on the Napa Valley Wine Train?
Of course it is easy to question how much race played in these ladies being kicked off the train. Would Napa Valley Train kick them off if they were a group of Japanese tourist not speaking English? What about a group of older white women?
That’s the thing, we will never know if race played a part in this matter. None of us can get into the mind of the ONE woman who complained or the Maître D’ that had them removed to know if race was a factor.
That said, I do get frustrated when people are quick to chime in on social media to declare race doesn’t matter and they are sick of seeing people use the “race card.” Well I’m sick of seeing stories of people like Jonathan Ferrell who was shot 10 times as he approached the police for help. To say race didn’t play a role in that incident or the pool incident in McKinney, Texas or the countless other stories on the news every day is ridiculous. It is not safe being black in America these days and that is a fact.
At the same time, not everything is about race. I can’t yell racism every time someone cuts in front of me at Whole Foods or is just blatantly rude. Some people are just rude and obnoxious and it has nothing to do with my race. I recognize it would be easy for me to blame everything on race, but I know that sometimes it doesn’t matter.
None of us can get into the mind of the ONE woman who complained or the Maître D’ that had them removed to know if race was a factor.
I can’t fully say what happened to these women was racism or not. I can say I believe the reaction to throw them off the train was excessive. To have the police waiting for them once they were removed from the train was excessive. And then for Napa Valley Train to state these women, which included an 83-year-old woman, verbally and physically abused the staff and other patrons was excessive and just wrong on so many levels.
I am floored, disappointed and angered by this company’s actions. Napa Valley Wine Train had a choice in how to handle this situation. They could have moved the ONE woman who complained to another cart. They could have moved the 12 women. They did not need to call the police. They did not need to claim these women assaulted others.
So am I outraged? Yes, because Napa Valley Wine Train has shown they do not care about their passengers. And if you read their older reviews on Yelp, they have a history of not caring about their passengers and it has nothing to do with race.
I just know whom I will not be riding with the next time I go to Napa.
Share your thoughts in the comments!