I got this black chick that don’t know how to act
She’s always talking out her neck, making her fingers snap
She says, “Listen, Jiggaman, I don’t care if you rap
You better R-E-S-P-E-C-T me”
— Jay-Z, “Girls, Girls, Girls”
It wasn’t an Underground Railroad train ride, it was an Aboveground Napa Valley Railroad train ride. Then the horrific face of white racism reared its ugly head, this time in the form of a Napa Valley wine train trying to enforce uniform standards of decorum. In “Napa wine train controversy: ‘I do think it was based on the color of our skin’”, The Guardian ‘reports’ on the story like it was To Kill a Mockingbird:
It was meant to be a grand day out to celebrate Sandra Jamerson’s 63rd birthday, but it ended in humiliation, tears and another fraught discussion over race in America.
Yes, this is how this ‘news story’ actually begins.
Over a gourmet lunch and a couple of glasses of wine, Jamerson and 10 other women of the Sistahs of Reading Edge book club planned to discuss Brenda Jackson’s bestselling romance A Man’s Promise aboard the famous Napa Valley wine train as it trundled through the California vineyards, resplendent in the August sun.
Yes, A Man’s Promise is precisely the type of book I figured they’d be reading. Methinx the gals aren’t going to be reading Anna Karenina anytime soon.
But before they could even begin to discuss whether the protagonist lived up to his promise, or even touch their lunch, they were kicked off the heritage tourist train. Their crime, they claim, was “#laughingwhileblack”.
This is not parody, though when it comes to ‘racial justice’ stories, the line between parody and reality is increasingly blurred.
The ejection of the reading group – 10 African American women and one white woman ranging in age from their 50s to 85 – sparked a social media storm, ignited a fierce debate about racism and “white space” across the country, and could end up in court as the Sistahs are considering bringing a $5m legal claim for “malicious oppression”.
And I’ll bet our justice system will make near-millionaires of 11 loud and unruly women.
Jamerson, who can barely talk about the incident and frequently breaks down in tears when reliving the experience weeks later [microaggression triggers! – Ed] , said the group were “marched” through six carriages and handed over to four waiting armed police officers “as if we were criminals”. While they waited for a bus back to Napa under the harsh California sun, other passengers pressed their faces up against the glass of the restored Honduran mahogany Pullman cars to watch the spectacle.
Raisins in the sun can explode, qua Langston Hughes. Get it?
The train company, which did not initially apologise, said the women, who paid $124 each for the ride, were not ejected because of the colour of their skin but because of the volume of their laughter.
The women firmly believe the incident was racially motivated and they say it is not the first time that nonwhite groups have complained of discrimination on the wine train. They have hired a prominent civil rights lawyer to explore their legal options.
Sure, blacks talk back to movie screens to the annoyance of others trying to watch the movie (a stereotype I have personally witnessed on several occasions), but just as this is simply reflective of much-needed vibrancy racial diversity brings to the cinema experience, loud sistahs laughing is bringing some needed vibrancy to the otherwise stuffy whites who frequent Napa Valley wine trains.
If you’ve ever witnessed a group of middle aged black women congregated in a social situation, you’ll notice that they can be, how shall we say it… quite gregarious. Add to that the widespread ‘angry black women’ stereotype, something even leftwing NYT culture critics can be found guilty of engaging in, and one can start to read between the lines of this Train in Vain story.
As one black female SJW blogger writes:
It’s true that the Angry Black Woman is a negative stereotype. Black men don’t like us, white people fear us, and non-angry black women wish we would stop being so loud. Anger isn’t going to solve all of the world’s problems, true. Anger is sometimes an unhealthy emotion. Sometimes it’s not. We sometimes need to get angry to propel us toward positive change or to stop injustice and oppression. We can’t stop being angry until the fight is over. And the fight is far from over, kids.
So, there’s that.
And, boy, can they talk. For a long, long, long time.
This being said, and in terms of their schemes for $5 million, the abovementioned Sistahs obviously didn’t read the playbook carefully enough on at least one point:
The women of the reading group, who concede that they were quite loud and boisterous but point out that they did tell the company they were a big group in advance, said they were first warned about their “offensive” laughter before the train had even pulled out of the station in Napa.
Okay. They admit they were loud. And they were apparently asked nicely to control their volume level before the train even started moving.
The book group members, who were on their 17th annual summer outing, asked the maitre d’ who they had offended. “She [the waitress] said: ‘When you laugh, I see it on the [other] passengers’ faces’,” said Lisa Renee Johnson, another member of the book club who chronicled the incident in real time on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #laughingwhileblack. “It was awful. It was a horrible experience.”
Live-posting to “#laughingwhileblack”? I didn’t think Sistahs could carry such huge chips on their shoulders.
And, of course, rather than learning from Trump that capitulation to Political Correctness simply accomplishes your own self-destruction, the train company immediately starts issuing mea culpas, all but ensuring these loud black broads will collect money in a civil lawsuit. It is this that is the most disgusting aspect of the whole story.
Tony Giaccio, chief executive of the Napa Valley wine train, has apologised to the women and conceded his company was “100% wrong” in its handling of “this regrettable treatment of our guests”. But Giaccio maintains that the ejection of the women was not racially motivated.
The Guardian then throws in a statistic that has absolutely no bearing on the facts of the story, but is a necessary component to the long, never-ending, white liberal narrative about race in America:
There are just 486 African American people registered as living in Napa out of a total population of 76,915. That works out at 0.6%, compared to 13.6% for African Americans across the US population, according to the 2010 US census.
It then takes a private citizen, a Letter to the Friggin’ Editor, for The Guardian to get across a perspective that the train company was too weak-spined to put forward. Was a blog post from a white identitarian website not readily available?:
The Napa Valley Register this week published a letter to the editor saying the management and staff of the wine train “deserve a well-earned pat on the back” for their handling of the incident.
The author of the letter, Sue Kelley, said the women were “adults who should have known better”.
“Some amount of decorum needs to be observed even when people are travelling on the train in a party mood and having fun. Everyone, without exception, is entitled to equal enjoyment of the Wine Train experience which they paid for with their hard-earned money.”
Ah, enough of this ‘decorum’ business. Let’s get back to the Racial Oppression narrative:
Fighting back tears, book club member Debbie Reynolds, a nurse who said she lost a job as a result of the media storm surrounding the incident, said: “If it wasn’t race-based, then why weren’t the other customers who were speaking loudly and laughing and were of another race not given any warnings? Nothing was said to them about keeping the noise level down. The only people that got warnings were a group of African American women.”
Her friend, Allisa Carr, who works in finance, said if the eviction was solely based on noise, “then there should have been some other people who were humiliated and marched out”.
Carr said the incident will be seared in her memory as one of the “most humiliating experiences in my entire life”. “I am professional woman, I am educated,” she said. “Never in a million years had I ever imagined that I would be escorted off a train and given to police officers. It pains me in my heart. It’s very painful, because it’s 2015. I’m a mother of three sons and I never ever want my children to experience something like that.”
Were other non-black guests on the train also unacceptably loud, and were they given a free pass?
What would be your guess?
If your life depended on the correct answer, what would be your guess?
Short of audio/video evidence surfacing – which one would think might’ve been captured by the Sistahs, given they were live-blogging their #laughingwhileblack Oppression before the train started rolling, and given that one of the Sistahs kicked off the train is herself white, I’m going to guess nada.
Like a serialized Dickens novel, The Guardian continues:
There was more humiliation to come. As the women were beginning to recover from the ordeal on the drive back to Antioch, the train company responded to Lisa’s Facebook posts with a comment of its own. “Following verbal and physical abuse toward other guests and staff, it was necessary to get our police involved,” the statement said. “Many groups come on board and celebrate. When those celebrations impact our guests, we do intervene.”
So, what does the train company then do? They engage in a pathetic dance of P.C. backtracking while trying to have their cake and eat it too.
Giaccio also apologised to the women for the Facebook post, which he said was entirely false. “We also erred by placing an inaccurate post on our Facebook site that was not reflective of what actually occurred,” he said in a public apology to the Sistahs. “In the haste to respond to criticism and news inquiries, we made a bad situation worse by rushing to answer questions on social media. We quickly removed the inaccurate post, but the harm was done by our erroneous post.”
Giaccio, it sounds to me, would be a great GOP cuckservative candidate. The train company’s PR man, however, tries to nuance Giaccio’s pathetic capitulation somewhat, but is clearly flailing:
Giaccio refused to speak to the Guardian when reporters visited his office at the wine train station in Napa. A spokesman – Kevin Keane, who works for Sam Singer’s crisis PR company – maintained that the ejection was not racially motivated but said the company would increase its diversity training. However, he maintained that the train’s staff had taken “the appropriate action” in ejecting the women from the train. Keane said no employees have been suspended or given verbal or written warnings as a result of the incident.
So the ejection was not racially motivated, but the staff will undergo increased diversity training.
Makes sense to me.
Keane said groups were ejected from the train for being too disruptive about once a month. He was unable to state the races of previous people ejected from the train.
It is not the first time that minority groups have publicly complained about how they were treated on the train. Norma Ruiz, a graduate nursing student at the University of California in San Francisco, wrote on the train’s Yelp page in April that she and nine Latino friends were admonished by the manager for making too much noise.
“I just felt we were not welcomed at the train, I did not enjoyed [sic] the rest of the afternoon,” she wrote. “I can understand the rudeness from the other guest, but I just feel management could have done a much better job. I felt so ridiculed when the manager approached me about keeping our noise down.”
The poor English is a nice touch. Se la vie, California.
Ruiz later told Slate: “I think it was just that person complaining and then the manager, seeing that we were Latino, basically decided to discriminate [against] us because we were Latinos and group. Now that I hear about this event with a group of African American ladies being kicked out of the train, I’m seeing a pattern.”
I’m seeing a pattern too.
Ruiz said that a large group of white women, whom she thought were probably a bachelorette party, on the same train were also making a lot of noise and were not approached about their volume.
Can’t some reporter out there determine if any white people have been kicked off the train for unruly behavior? The train company said they kick people off at least once a month. Or might it be the case that the social norms of white-people-who-ride-Napa-Valley-wine-trains is so significantly different than an exceptionally rare, outlier phenomenon of black-women-(and-one-white-woman)-riding-a-Napa-Valley-wine-train, that there might be no instances of whites being ejected from said Napa Valley wine trains?
Johnson said she and her friends wanted to ensure no one else ever has to experience discrimination like they did – and if that means launching legal action against Giacco and his company, they will.
Yes, it’s to help others that they are seeking $5 million.
Their lawyer, Waukeen McCoy, said the case was one of the most egregious he has come across in his 22 years practising as a civil rights lawyer and highlights that racism is still prevalent throughout all strata of society. “It is malicious in how they posted false statements about this group of women [on Facebook] to say that these women were physically abusive. I think it’s worth a lot of money,” he said. “One case can render $500,000, so because there are so many plaintiffs … once the jury hears their story, they are going to be compelling.”
Why is whatever case a personal injury lawyer – or black ‘civil rights’ agitator — trying to publicize always the ‘most egregious’ thing they’ve ever seen?
McCoy said the case could become a class-action lawsuit if more people who feel they were mistreated by the train company come forward. He sent a demand letter to the company on Monday and is this week meeting with the NAACP to discuss coordinated action against the train company, including a possible boycott.
Bingo! A class action suit, with NAACP help. (Can Rev. Al be far behind?) Ka-ching! It seems Brother Waukeen has a proven track record:
He won one of the nation’s largest discrimination verdicts for $132 million against the parent company of Wonder Bread. He was appointed in 2002 Ethics Commissioner for the City of San Francisco.
Maybe it’s just me, but I found the contiguity between the two sentence above quite funny. I’m also left wondering if Waukeen proved in court that Wonder Bread was too white?
Back to The Guardian’s conclusion:
The Sistahs have been given full refunds and been invited to enjoy another trip on the train in a whole carriage to themselves. They will not be going back. “Nobody got fired, no one go reprimanded. They don’t feel they did anything wrong. How can [we] accept that?” Johnson said. “We, as African American people, we don’t get a choice – when we get up in the morning we are black.”
One must concede the unfortunate fact of her last point there.