Women Kicked Off Wine Train For ‘Laughing While Black’

by Erika W. Smith

Apparently, laughing while black can be dangerous.

A group eleven women — ten of them black — were kicked off the Napa Valley Wine Train for laughing too loudly during a book club outing.

The Napa Valley Register writes that the women boarded the Wine Train at 11 a.m. on Saturday and were told to leave the train in St. Helena, reportedly because of noise complaints. The women, including an 83-year-old grandmother, were escorted through six cars and off the train, where police were waiting for them. A van then took them back to Napa.

Book club member and author Lisa Johnson shared her account of “#laughingwhileblack” on Facebook and Twitter. Her posts quickly went viral.

“WOW! They paraded us through 6 cars and none of us are even drunk…the police were waiting,” Johnson wrote.

“They gave us a full refund…but that’s not enough. We are totally humiliated,” she added in another post.

“All we were guilty of is #laughingwhileblack.”

Wine Train spokeswoman Kira Devitt told The Napa Valley Register that at least three passengers had complained about the book club’s noise level and that similar removals are “not an uncommon occurrence.”

A Wine Train Facebook post, since taken down, claimed, “Following verbal and physical abuse towards other guests and staff, it was necessary to get our police involved.”

Devitt said that the Wine Train management is now conducting an internal audit to see whether staff members followed company policy.

“It was humiliating. I’m really offended to be quite honest,” Johnson told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“I felt like it was a racist attack on us. I feel like we were being singled out.” 

Photo via Facebook/Lisa Johnson

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