Laughing While Black in Napa Valley

laughing while black


A Group Of Women Made Headlines For Laughing While Black

Last August 11 women of the Sistahs on the Reading Edge Book Club decided to take a train touring Napa Valley wineries. The women were thrown off the train for laughing loudly. Immediately, the hashtag #LaughingWhileBlack went viral on Twitter and accusations flew about racial bias. What also followed was a lawsuit claiming millions of dollars in damages.

The women, 10 Black and 1 White, have settled the case in mediation and now want to move on from the ordeal.

Can you imagine you and your girlfriends being escorted off a train for laughing too loud? I can recall several times when my girlfriends and I were laughing loud – super loud – at a restaurant or event. We were having so much fun to the point other people would come over to ask if they could join us!

Not so much in this case. Two of the women lost their jobs as a result of the incident. The group sought $11 million ($1 million for each woman) for damages.

One of the women, Lisa Johnson, is an author and life coach from Antioch, California. She says that news of the settlement has caused people to spew racially charged comments at the book club. One post read: “Good ole ghetto behavior – have you no shame? Can’t you control yourselves?”

So, the conversation becomes how we control our biases – because we all have them. The Napa Valley Wine Train stated it was not a racial bias but “acute insensitivity” that caused them to put the women off the train.

Is that even a real thing? It’s more about common sense and using sensitivity to approach situations we are not familiar with. Acting out of ignorance only fosters more ignorance.

Could there have been another way to handle that situation on the train? I’m sure that it was. In hindsight, we can only hope that the Napa Valley Wine Train has learned a lesson and this will not have to happen to any other group.


Archuleta Chisolm

Senior Writer

Archuleta is a brave soul without wings. She is a self-published author of three books, poet, freelancer, speaker, pen junkie, and U.S. Army veteran. She has a passion for encouraging women to be the best version of themselves. Made in Kansas City, Living in Houston.