By Richardine Bartee
Laughing while black is a crime: If you’re not familiar with Napa Valley Wine Train, it is a restored historic train that offers a scenic wine country tour in Napa, California. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Well, over the weekend 11 African-American women, who are apart of a book club, were removed from the train for laughing and talking too loud. The women recount the experience as “humiliating” and have been given a full refund by the company but the group of women are seeking a public apology from Napa Valley Wine Train. According to ibtimes.com, the book club were removed because “other customers complained about their volume.” The eleven women, who come together to make the book club “Sisters on the Reading Edge”, were on their annual trip.
Lisa Johnson, one of the women who was kicked off of the train stated, “It was humiliating. I’m really offended to be quite honest.” The 47-year-old continues, “I felt like it was a racist attack on us. I feel like we were being singled out.”
Kira Devitt, a spokeswoman from the California train company released a statement, and it reveals that Napa Valley Wine Train have “received complaints from several parties in the same car and after three attempts from staff, requesting that the group keep the noise to an acceptable level, they were removed from the train and offered transportation back to the station in Napa.”
Reportedly, Johnson, the book club owner recalled that “the women, all seated near each other, were laughing and having a good time as they traveled the 18-mile picturesque trek from Napa to St. Helena.” International Business Times continued, “But in the middle of the trip a manager told the group “this isn’t going to work,” and asked them to “tone it down,” before deciding to eject the women.”
Lisa Johnson told the SF Chronicle, “It was a bizarre thing for all of us. The most humiliating part of the trip was the “walk of shame” past passengers on six other cars, toward the platform, where police officers were waiting.”
Since, social media has responded accordingly: “Some people are so repulsed by Black joy,” tweeted @brownblaze and “Kicked for laughing. Complaint from one woman support from others. #laughingwhileback Napa valley Wine Train”, tweeted by @TeeCLMcDee.