Laughing While Black

Back in June I blogged about what black folks can’t do since we can’t do squat without someone calling the police.


Well the latest thing we can’t do is laughing while black.  Really?  Now we can’t laugh without someone feeling threatened or upset?

A group of black women who belong to the Sisters On The Reading Edge book club were kicked off the Napa Valley Wine Train this past Saturday. The group consists of eleven women including an 83 year old grandmother.



Apparently a white woman complained that the book club women were too loud. Cause you know black woman just aren’t allowed to laugh and have a good time like white women. When we laugh and have a good time it’s a threat.  When white women laugh and have a good time it’s okay and downright normal.

In a statement Sunday, Napa Valley Wine Train spokeswoman Kira Devitt said the company “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.”

The incident began when Johnson and her book club, the Sisters on the Reading Edge, embarked around 11 a.m. for their annual trip through wine country — an adventure they had been planning since November.

Johnson, a self-described social media fanatic, posted pictures on Facebook, documenting the entire episode as it unfolded.

The women — all wearing matching T-shirts — were all seated in the same car in adjacent tables and seats, laughing and having a good time. They and the other passengers on the sold-out train were ordering tastings and glasses of wine as they rode the 18-mile stretch from Napa to St. Helena through California’s most famous and picturesque vineyards and wineries.

And while the group — which included an 83-year-old grandmother — may at times have been “rambunctious,” they were not “obnoxious or intoxicated,” Johnson said.

Several passengers, she said, even came up to them to take pictures, and asked about the romance novel they were reading for their club.

The group were eventually escorted off the train when they reached another station.

What came next, she said, was the worst part of the afternoon. When the train pulled into the St. Helena station, the group had to do the “walk of shame” as they were escorted past passengers on the six other cars, Johnson said. At the station, the group was met by officers from the Napa Valley Railroad and St. Helena police departments.

“People were looking at us,” Johnson said. “To get escorted into the hands of waiting police officers. That’s the humiliating part.”

But Chief Jeff Hullquist of the Napa Valley Railroad Police Department said there “was no police action taken” at the station.

After the incident someone from the Napa Valley Wine Train Company posted on Facebook that the book club group were verbally and physically abusive towards the other train passengers. Check out the Facebook link here to see the post that Ms. Johnson screen grabbed.

Meanwhile the Napa Valley Wine Train is getting blasted on Yelp.  Not surprised by this.

So black folks lets go over the rules again. No swimming, running, driving, playing, biking, walking, partying, shopping and add laughing to the list.  Anything else we need to add to the list?  Will it be talking while black?  No breathing or sighing while black?  Or no standing while black.  Oh let’s not forget no fishing while black.  Damn, we can’t do shit 😦

2 responses

  1. Good luck on your trip and try not to laugh too loud.

  2. As as woman of color, this really breaks my heart. My sister and I have discussed taking this very trip so many times. I guess I will need to go with my white friends so I appear less threatening. I have a very loud laugh!

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