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I’m appalled that 11 Black women – including an 83-year-old grandmother — were abruptly kicked off the luxurious Wine Train in Napa Valley, California for what train officials insist was an egregious railway offense: Laughing too loud.

Imagine that? It’s the Wine Train — people drink wine, they laugh; it’s an activity designed for fun and enjoyment. But are the rules different for Black women?

“It was humiliating. I’m really offended to be quite honest,” said 47-year-old Lisa Johnson, who was among the 11 black women who were herded off the train and promptly met by railroad police. “I felt like it was a racist attack on us. I feel like we were being singled out.”

Johnson said members of her group, “Sistahs on the Reading Edge Book Club,” were targeted because they were simply “laughing while Black.”

She is probably right. There were so many ways Wine Train officials could have handled this situation, but forcing a group of Black women off the train, including an 83-year-old grandmother, is deplorable and just bad business.

What was supposed to be an enjoyable afternoon turned ugly for the women last Saturday two hours after they boarded the Wine Train. One white woman, according to Johnson, told the group they were annoying her and complained to train attendants.

“This is not a bar,” the woman said.

Wine train officials said the women were laughing too loud and were told three times to keep the noise down. Officials said the women were not drunk but ordered them off the train anyway citing a standing policy about excessive noise. Train officials then posted this message on the Wine Train Facebook page.

Following verbal and physical abuse toward other guests and staff, it was necessary to get our police involved. Many groups come on board and celebrate. When those celebrations impact our guests, we do intervene.”

While witnesses said white guests on the train were also laughing and enjoying themselves during the excursion, Johnson called the incident a “walk of shame” after the train stopped at St. Helena and the Black women were greeted by Wine Train railroad police.

“They paraded us through 6 cars on display in front of the other guests to waiting police like we were criminals,” Johnson said in a Facebook post. “Then they made a written public statement on social media that we verbally and physically abused other guest and staff…one word. UNACCEPTABLE!”

The women were ushered off the train and transported back to the train station where they were given a full refund. So if the women clearly violated train policy, why would Wine Train officials give all the women a complete refund? And why did Wine Train officials apologize?

“Today we are again reaching out to the book club members,” Sam Singer, a Wine Train spokesman, told reporters. “We want to apologize to them about their experience.” Singer said he has been unable to reach the women to offer a formal apology.

Word of the incident has spread quickly on social media hashtag #laughingwhileblack with many people saying they will boycott the Wine Train. The company’s Yelp page has been flooded with negative reviews from other passengers who say they’ve either witnessed or experienced discriminatory attitudes and treatment. And an article on Slate.com reports on previous complaints about passenger behavior, none of which were thrown off the train. 

One woman from Seattle posted her outrage over the incident after witnessing the situation on the train.

“I watched in disbelief as staff harassed a group of people who were merely drinking wine and laughing. I’d like to think it wasn’t a racially motivated act, but given the fact that other, non-Black guests were behaving in the same way and not removed, I can only conclude that it was discrimination,” Danielle S. posted.

It’s a shame that 11 Black women from a Antioch, California book club were subjected to what appears to be racial profiling on a wine-sipping train that promotes a wonderful three-hour tour.

“Take a trip into the luxurious American past and experience an unparalleled memory-­making journey,” according to the Wine Train website.

For these sophisticated, book-reading women, I’m guessing they’ve experienced enough of the America’s past for one weekend.

What do you think?

(Photo: Lisa Johnson/Facebook)

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56 thoughts on “Were 11 Black Women Thrown Off Napa Wine Train For Being Too Loud Or Too Black?

  1. psnthersdec on said:

    To put on Facebook that they personally verbally and physically assaulted someone to prove their case nailed it for me. /I would sue them for lying. As if all of the white people were nice and quiet. Please anybody know when white folks get liquired up they don’t know how to act. When I see them drinking I leave.

  2. Let’s not pretend this isn’t far fetched. Black people tend to be loud. We mean no harm but we are. If they have rules against it, follow the rules or leave. Now if others were just as loud, there should be better tolerance. I’m not appalled nor offended.

  3. dr_zee on said:

    Many of these posts are believable, as much as we would like to hope that people on the other end of these comments don’t exist. Well, here’s your proof! They are alive and well and full of hatred and venom! Sad days!

  4. hoyden63 on said:

    i don’t know that i would be so quick to call it a racist thing…if you get a group of twelve people together, add alcohol, friendship, and confined quarters, there is going to be noise, whether it is a bunch of frat boys, a bunch of women(black or white or whatever), or a bunch of whatever really…

    i think the issue is that other people simply don’t want to hear the racket…perhaps they simply want a laid-back experience of watching the world go by and having a glass of wine…they don’t want to hear others’ conversations.

  5. sticks on said:

    To all of you using the N word, talking about low IQs, and whatever else stereotypical nonsense, JUST STOP! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Uplift the human race and stop trying to destroy it. Everyone can make a point without calling someone out of there name. One thing i have found to be true is something that a comedian said (Chris Rock I think). Whatever you hate will end up in your family.

    • Blacks always act out of control and then when they someone says something to them they immediately claim racism. Every white person who says anything remotely imperfect to them is a racist. This is what they are taught from a young age, that whites are the devils and all whites are racist. This is a fact. Just like that Saint Skittles that attacked Zimmerman yet the blacks claimed racism. He was found guilty in a court of law. Or that harvard graduate Michael Brown who was on his way back from the library when an evil kkk white devil shot him for no reason. No, that POS had multiple felony arrests at the age of 18 and just committed strong armed robbery before he was shot. That is irrelevant to the blacks though. They should be able to attack white cops and white cops shouldn’t be able to defend themselves. This is the mentality they all have.

  6. blacks cant control their behavior under any circumstances. Once you put a bunch of them in a room together the chaos never fails NEVER! They lack impulse control and since they have the lowest iqs of any race this is the result THERE HAS NEVER BEEN AN IQ TEST ADMINISTERED IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD WERE BLACKS HAVEN”T SCORED THE LOWEST. FACT!! EVEN IN NON VERBAL!

  7. americanize. on said:

    The old white devil who complain,probably remembers when blacks were not allowed on trains.An movies were in black & white. An everything else.

  8. specialt757 on said:

    While yes Tammy it’s true we do have the “Willie Lynch” mentality among us, but some things speak for themselves, you just have to be wise enough to know the difference.
    I can’t call what actually happened on the train, as I was not there, but I do know and have been around loud among not only blacks but whites as well. I’ve been in restaurants where a group of young white guys were being loud, rude and disrespectful. The manager didn’t ask them to leave however, but other patrons ask them to keep it down, and they did.

  9. specialt757 on said:

    This is not meant to start a cyber-argument, so for the sake of an argument for all you who say it was a race issue, do you believe these women were the only blacks on this train that day?
    For those who say they must not have been doing anything wrong because they received their fare back and an apology, do you think that they were behaving in a manner that was respectful to all others on the train and also not disrupting the enjoyment of others, who I might add paid there fare as well? Could there be any other reason why these women were escorted off the train? I mean other than race.
    AND I think there are WAAAAAAAYYYYY more intelligent black women than ignorant ones, so intelligence is not the issue.

    • I agree. But you know how it goes. if a black do a crime, he must be a thug; if a white person do a crime, he must be mental. If a black ask for money, that black person must be a gold digger; if a white person ask for money, the white person has high economic standards. if whites laugh, it must be funny and they are having a good time; if blacks laugh out loud, they are being rude. Even many blacks have brought into this “Wyllie Lynch” thinking in modern day twist if it is white, it is right; if is black, make it stay back.

    • And why is everyone ignoring the fact that the white loudmouth was escorted off the train too? I swear people can add and subtract anything to suit an agenda. The owner needs to grow a pair. He gave them a refund. That is all he owed them. Nobody wants to lose business. That’s why he folded like a cheap suit and apologized. That’s also the reason he didn’t boot them off the train because they were black. Hell, if that’s the case, he could have just found a reason not to sell them tickets in the first place. That would have been easy. Now he has to try to figure out how to keep the customers that want nice, peaceful tour with their wine, now that the rowdies know they can get on and whoop it up. You teach people how to treat you. He’s taught people that if you make a big enough racket, I’ll grovel.

  10. If these ladies were kinda loud (which none of us know), I think it is stupid to think drinking wine and thinking people need to be extremely quiet is stupid. That is like being at a basketball game and expect the crowd to not cheer at some point.

  11. RENO2AC on said:

    I do not know too many “ignorant” black women that participate in book clubs. That being said, I want to say to all of the people who have assumed that these women were being loud and obnoxious…shame on you! Were these women just regaling in their time together, enjoying each other’s company, or were they singled out because they were of color? You do know that there are different standards when it comes to “us?” I used to frequent a local sports bar. It was owned by a prominent, local politician, so it was the place to go during football season, especially, as I live in a die hard football town. I’ve watched young, white men yell, scream, cuss, shove each other, say lewd things to the servers and bartenders, with nary a word spoken to them. However, one night, a young, male friend of mine, accompanied by a few of his female friends were in the local spot. The young man was an employee of the Mayor’s Office in my city. Well, he and his friends were told they were being “too loud.” So, everything is not always as it seems, and I cannot convey how offensive I find these old, tired stereotypes about black women.

  12. Vet Mom on said:

    Sorry but I believe they were loud and let me tell you why, In the last year my daughters, my grandson and I have been on a Bahamas cruise (OMG Whitney tribute was GREAT), amusement parks, DC and I can’t count how many times (one time on Amtrak out of B more) my grandson said “Yall too loud laughing. Grandma doesn’t like rudeness!” Yes baby I use the QUIET train car for a reason! : hahahahaha These ladies were probably having a sisterly GREAT time and didn’t realize the ole folks need quiet!!! hahahahaha OMG my daughter and I just saw Straight Outa Compton….GREAT GREAT GREAT movie. H@ I was jamming to music in my seat remembering some of my hood GREAT times in St. Louis/E.St. Louis! Dre and Cube etc. the reason both are you (other members) are alive to tell this story is because you didn’t rob/bully innocent store clerks or resist arrest when TRULY innocent! KARMA worked in Dre’s favor because of his heart (trying to be a better man helping so many others)! Oscar nomination for sure…..

    • Eunice on said:

      Vet mom – What in the hell are you talking about. You act like you are on some type of hallucinogen – jumping from one thing to another. When people vacation or pay their money to have fun, that is what they are entitled to have. I even heard from the head of the company that these women specifically asked for a section where they could laugh and enjoy themselves. This was done when they made the reservations. I am the type of person who loves to laugh and when I laugh I laugh loud and hard. If no one likes it when I do laugh – they certainly don’t want to be around me if you take my laughter away because I will be just like the Incredible Hulk – “you won’t like me if I get mad.” And what was that white woman doing on a wine train anyway if she wanted peace and quiet? Certainly the name of the train should have been a clue to her. No – she just didn’t want to see anyone having fun. Maybe come judgment day – she will have all the quiet she needs when she meets Satan. Psche!!!!!

      • Great point Eunice. Even in a 5 star restaurant with wine, people talk out loud or laugh at times. THEY ARE DRINKING. Have they ever had a bunch of white business men come in and have wine? They get loud at time as well.

  13. I want to see a tape. At this point, we do not know what really happen. As the old saying, your truth, their truth, and the real truth. I can see this going both ways but wont prejudge it.

    • Being black in America has nothing to do with loud woman on a train even after being warned to quiet down continued to “act a fool”

  14. My friends and I were put out of a Waffle House for being too loud after a football game in college. According to management we were interrupting others dining experience, we laughed all the way back to the dorm. This was the Waffle House at 11:00pm! LOL

  15. for those of you who are saying these women were probably too loud, you need to re-read the article. There is a statement from woman who was on the train that said these ladies did nothing wrong.

    • They should have been asked to leave the train, they were asked several times to keep the noise down. This is a matter of not knowing how to act in public. And because you’ve paid your money doesn’t give you the right to disregard all forms of protocol. They were not in a bar or someone’s home…they were in public acting obnoxious and rude.

  16. I’ve never been on that train before but I can imagine how loud and ignorant those woman were acting. Come on ladies you’re old enough to know when to use your”inside voices”. Everything isn’t racially motivated and if you feel like it is then act right!! I would’ve put them out to if they were overly disturbing others as well.

    • messengjah on said:

      I agree with you Natie; very often I am embarrassed, to say the least, to witness my sisters just being overly LOUD as if they are tone deaf. Why is it necessary for everyone to hear their conversations on their cell phones. I have a teenaged son who recently told me that he and his friends often avoid black girls because they are “too damn loud”, which of course saddens me. Being thrown off the NAPA wine train could very well be a racist act, but it could also be for the sisters being excessively loud.

      • LookPassMySkin on said:

        Reading these comments makes me want to cry. To hear black people assume that these women were of course too loud….I just really can’t believe it honestly. Even with someone else stating there behavior was consistent with other passengers that were not asked to leave, and still, you say it’s just pulling the race card once again. You see black women and of course they were loud and obnoxious…really??? I’m praying for all of you…

      • I agree Msprissy. some of us as blacks can be just as big as bigots towards blacks YET these same blacks will get upset if a white person discriminate against them.

  17. This is a good place to start a Boycott black people! It is the only language white America understand besides “guns, discrimination, and violence”!

  18. African American Woman on said:

    You are too much! I bet we are a lot a like in life; very passionate about our views and expressing them. Ok, truce for today? (Waving my white flag). Now….where is timekeeper, lol

  19. African American Woman on said:

    Hahahahhahah! Not today and I hope I’m not the dog who screams the loudest! Too funny…it’s always in good fun.

    • specialt757 on said:

      Wow girl miracles do happen lol. But I know it’s only a matter of time, we always seem to be on opposite sides. I’ll take what I can get tho lol.

  20. African American Woman on said:

    Special, I will say, this time I agree with you. I’ve never been on a Napa wine train, however, I’m sure its a nice and relaxing ride, however, I’m sure nobody wants to hear loud and continuous laughing and talking.I’m black and love having a good night out with the girls, but if we are going to be loud, we go to the appropriate function or one of each other’s houses

  21. specialt757 on said:

    Okay if you come out here every day you can see by (most) of my posts I’m w/o a doubt PRO-BLACK, love everything about us except IGNORANCE & VIOLENCE, but that doesn’t just come in shades of black & brown. With that being sad, I’ve been out with my girlfriends and I know that I can get a little loud, because one of my friends (who should really take her show on the road lol) is funny as hell. But if I were ask to keep the noise down because it’s disturbing to other guests, I would do exactly that, plus pay my tab and leave. I would never embarrass myself by being ask to leave because I didn’t adhere.
    I wasn’t there on this train so I can’t say verbatim what happened, but can only imagine what went on, if you’re honest with yourselves, you can too. Let’s not be too quick to call everyone who doesn’t agree with our “behavior” racist. Ijs, hate it or love it I really don’t care.

  22. Charles Macken on said:

    Really? I wasn’t there (I am a black professional male, also), but I am assured that THEY were indeed very loud and indignant! As in movie theaters, restaurants, and any other place that at least three of them can congregate. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with being black. These women NEED to add a little more (if any) class and decorum to their social outings.

  23. Elizabeth on said:

    It is a wine train. People talk, laugh, and have a good time. They paid their fate and should have been given the respect of other passengers. The environment is for adults having fun. The people complaining are probably the same people who let their crying kids ruin my dinner or airplane ride.

  24. MacBen on said:

    Unfortunately too black is synonymous with too loud. It’s what makes most black women unattractive, That and big, unnatural looking weave.

    • MacBen, give it a rest. Anything you think will make blacks look bad or want to degrade blacks regardless if it true or not, you are always on the attack and will only post.

  25. DeeDee on said:

    Lisa Grace – the women WERE NOT DRINKING OR DRUNK!!!

    Loud – probably! However, because the people on the train (pretty sure they were White) thought the women were too loud, they complained until the women were thrown off. I’ve been on trains and planes where groups of white people were loud, laughing, having a good time and weren’t thrown off either plane or train. Double standards – Absolutely!!!!

  26. Come on ladies it’s the Napa Wine Train not the Harlem Subway, those illegal aliens in the car behind you behaved themselves and didn’t get thrown off

  27. Napa Valley is extremely bourgeois-they were probably looking for any excuse to boot the women of color from their wine tour!!!!

  28. Darlene on said:

    White America they want us to spend our money, but still wants to treat us like third class citizens. I hope they sue Napa Wine Train butt off.

    Also, what internet sites pays this type of money? Lord knows I need a side hustle to pay for my son college education.

  29. N/A@yahoo.com on said:

    An immediate boycott is in order and also a class action suite where any black or woman of color who has ever riden that train be properly compensated.Shame on the Wine Train!!!!!!!!!

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