Napa wine train and spatial racism
I think the Napa train incident is an example of spatial racism. Many white people expect some places and experiences to be completely white. I think a $125 minimum wine train through Napa would be a place where white people might assume they'd only, or at least almost only, encounter other white people. Segregation doesn't just happen in housing, schools, and public space. There are ways, some subtle and some not subtle, to make private spaces more segregated as well. My opinion is that this was an attempt to make this private space more segregated.
There's another racist issue on top of this. I think that many white people become anxious around people of color who are displaying emotion. I need to think that part of it through. If anyone has any articles about that element of racism, I'd appreciate reading them.
Anyway, I'm going to put up a couple of articles about spatial racism. I'm not sure why, but I'm unable to copy and paste from the first article. The second article is from a Catholic perspective, so there is religious talk, but it's a very good article regardless.
White Americans tend not to be aware of the chasm of spatial racism that Cardinal Francis George addresses in Dwell in My Love. If they are aware of it, whites tend to view the chasm as natural and normal. The problem, of course, is that there is nothing natural and normal about white physical, social, and moral separation from people of color. The problem of this chasm is that it has been created by, and contributes to, the inability of whites to understand or feel compassion for people of color, much less practice the solidarity called for by the Church. This inability is termed social alexithymia by social scientists. This white frame of mind has difficulty understanding where people of color are coming from and what the racialized experiences of people of color are like. Most simply put, social alexithymia is the significant lack of cross-racial empathy.
Lack of cross-racial empathy becomes apparent in the everyday assumptions by which whites live. White folk theory or common sense knowledge takes things for granted as the way things are. Three key assumptions are held by white common sense thinking on race. First, white folk theory holds races to be biologically valid. This assumption persists, even though biological anthropologists and geneticists long ago demonstrated that there is only one race, the human race. An example of how this nonscientific, white common sense assumption persists is found in the argument that racial intermarriage will erase racial difference and conflict. In other words, the common sense assumption advances a genetic solution to a non-genetic, social construction.
This erroneous biological view also persists in the one drop rule, which held that any trace of African ancestry made a person African American. Whites enforced the one drop rule during the Jim Crow period between 1865 and 1965 to prevent interracial marriage and to segregate whites from blacks legally, politically, educationally, and culturally. This one drop rule assumption can be seen in the way that Barack Obama was described as the only black in the U.S. Senate and the first African American president even though he describes himself as the son a white, Kansas mother and a Kenyan father.
A second assumption of white folk theory holds that racism is entirely a matter of individual belief and that the ignorance of this individual view can be corrected by education. This view is commonly communicated in blog or newspaper opinion pieces that rightfully desire an end to racism and decry the use of racial epithets. While the anti-racist intention is good, the commonly proposed solution of educating individuals who are ignorant is completely inadequate to the task of addressing the institutional and systemic racist practices. Moreover, this individualist assumption fails to attend to the way that U.S. culture cultivates white folk theory of race.
Were these groups disturbing others by being too noisy?
Until we find out that, the rest is speculation and racism from both ends of the debate.
and stated that the book group was no louder than other groups on the train.
If you've been paying attention, remember no passengers actually complained verbally about the ladies. One of the train workers said that the faces of other passengers seemed to be stressed, or some such BS.
Here's a quote from an earlier story:
Johnson, one of the book club ladies, insists that she and her friends weren't doing anything wrong.
"She, a train worker, said people were complaining and I said, 'Whos complaining?' And she said, 'Well, peoples faces are uncomfortable,'"
That's almost laugh-out-loud silly if it weren't so seriously racist and carry negative consequences for the ladies as they were paraded from the train to waiting police (where's their crime btw? Police were actually called), and consequences for the wine train company as they are being sued and their reputation ruined nationwide see their Yelp ratings.
Concerning the OP, it ventures into an area, social alexithymia, that I've also unfortunately observed but used the term just plain old "self-segregation" myself.
It's a loss IMO for whites that do this as their smugness deprives them of great cultural experiences that they've chosen to exclude themselves from with their exclusiveness or is it really just racism/white supremacy which will become more and more of a disadvantage as the country becomes more and more majority minority.
It helps to be able to relate to more than the narrowness of white bread culture.
According to this source, "As they were talking to the employee, another woman seated nearby spoke up and said, This is not a bar, Johnson said, apparently identifying where the complaints about their group were coming from."
I also noticed in the article that the group had a white woman with them, who was also escorted off of the train.
I'd bet money someone in the book club took video of this. I wonder why we haven't seen it.
It could be racism, but it could also be a group of obnoxious people trying to save face by playing the race card.
That quote you wrote came after the book group asked who was complaining.
There hadn't been any verbal complaints as I stated, just the assumption by a train worker from allegedly reading the faces of other passengers.
Here is a quote from the train worker: 'Well, peoples faces are uncomfortable'.
But you knew that as you also quote a passenger who said something to the effect that "the train is not a bar". Which is also kind of silly. The company is serving alcoholic beverages and somehow expects the decorum of library. Ridiculous!
For some reason you choose to believe that a book group or eleven ladies, including an 83-year-old, were obnoxious and playing the race car even though the CEO of the company publicly apologized to them, refunded their money and offered them free fares in the future, as well as promising sensitivity training for his workers.
With that mindset I'm curious as to why you're on this site?
(choice word) their workers.
They admitted they were wrong. So....that's probably the bottom line, right there.
There will be a lawsuit.
encountering very bad manners. There's no reason why anyone (of any race) should want to put up with that.
Others came forward and said the ladies were no louder than other groups.
Why do you think the CEO of the wine train publicly apologized and said the blame was all his workers. He also refunded the fares, offered free trips to make up for their ruined experience and promised sensitivity training for his workers.
but since we weren't on that train, we don't know. What is reported are opinions, and probably not the opinions of all of the passengers, only some of them. It could be that the management of the train responded with refunds etc. out of public relations concerns regardless of who was deemed "right".
My point is that most often race is assumed to be the issue, when it isn't necessarily. And that is just as much of a distortion as denying that race is an issue when it actually is.
What I do know, of my own experience, is that there are some women I have encountered, black, white, all races, who are extremely loud and screechy whenever anything happens or is said, even when saying 'hello' to each other. They act like they are always at a football game, yelling over a touchdown.
Some people today are crude, loud, and obnoxious -- of all races. I don't like it any better from one than another.
(ps, I am a woman too.)
"My point is that most often race is assumed to be the issue, when it isn't necessarily. And that is just as much of a distortion as denying that race is an issue when it actually is. "
Being a "woman too" doesn't excuse ignoring all the facts of the story just to get a few subtle "buts" in there.
Response to brush (Reply #5)
Again, the CEO of the company apologized to the group and said his staff was completely at fault. He also refunded their fares, offered free rides in the future and scheduled diversity training for his workers.
On a train advertising itself as a fun experience and servicing alcoholic beverages one shouldn't expect the atmosphere of a library.
It's pretty apparent it was racism as a Latina American passenger from a couple of months before said her group had experience a very similar harassment from the wine train staff. Guess they want to keep that train a 'whites only' environment.
Strange you hadn't ran across that tidbit of poor race relations on the wine train in your research, or maybe you just chose not to mention it.
Insult people based on your perception of their race, ignore facts, and stir the pot with a stinky stick. We know your game.
but the facts are what they are.
The group of Latino/a Americans experienced harassment on that train also.
If you call stating actual facts as ignoring facts, well, you're the one with a perception problem.
As for stirring something with a stinky stick (can't believe you actually wrote that), look to that train staff the CEO actually said that the blame was on them/him. FACTS!
What annoys me is that so many people on this site automatically take the word of the train staff who actually called police on a book club group. Like the book club group just had to be lying.
Stirring the pot with a stinky stick, indeed. More like the pot calling the kettle black.
You have a belief about this incident which you are pushing, but have little to support it. This is fine, but it is not convincing.
knowledge, instead of your ill-conceived speculations that, as it turns out, are spun from whole cloth?
Here--some light reading for you because you really are behind the curve on this issue:
"Laughing while black" is not a crime.
'We Were 100 Percent In the Wrong' is a pretty declarative statement.
They don't want us on their train but they want us to buy their wine.
So most of them are white groups.
Also, as a former bartender, I take drinking/drunk group claims of their noise level with a large grain of salt.
The articles are good but the train example takes away from the point.
If the majority of customers are white, then of course the majority of times they've ever had to kick off customers are going to be white. So, they really can't just point to times they've kicked off white people and say, "See? We kick off white people too!"
Now, the company apologized but they probably did so just to put the incident to rest.
Like I said, as a former bartender, drinking groups can get loud and they are not good judges of their own noise level.
It might be racism but the proof is very light and takes away from the point your articles (as you can see from the posts here, it's all about the train example not the articles.).
If they kick off a certain percentage of people from a solidly majority white crowd, of which minorities make up a very small percentage, then there should be very few minorities kicked off the train, if ever. The mere fact that they happen to kick patrons off the train on occasion isn't evidence that it's not racially motivated. In fact, it's the opposite. Given that minorities make up a very small percentage of their clientele, yet get kicked off the train repeatedly, they should be kicking off a large percentage of their customers on a daily basis, on par with the type of establishments that employ bouncers. I seriously doubt this is happening on a wine tasting train.
Beyond that it's unknown, but it's an interesting Rorschach Test as people read into the incident what they already believe.
Myself, I don't know if it was or wasn't racial (nor does anyone else).
There was a statement made by the NVWT that they eject people about once a month and that they're mostly white. What that doesn't address is whether they're mostly white because the clientele is mostly white and beyond that, whether the rate of ejections is proportional.
What a lawsuit will do is force them to say this under oath.
The CEO has already said that they were adding diversity training for their staff (and that he would also attend.) He also has said they were completely wrong in this case.
The incident is not at rest. The Wine Train workers are going to diversity classes. The company is being sued. This is a long way from "rest." And the proof--based on what the CEO said--is not "light" at all.
There's video. Those ladies didn't seem terribly "loud" or boisterous to me. One of them was in her eighties.
You've articulated the different (each incomplete) definitions of racism well.
You can see this around conversations about gentrification in the Bay Area too. That first article nails a lot of the psychology.
Perhaps the manager who kicked them out was racist, but I think it's an encouraging sign that an overwhelmingly white crowd was just fine with them.
No matter how much noise she was making.
Do yourself a favor. If you need a wine country fix, head over to neighboring Sonoma County, where we Bay Area people go, and the wine is way less expensive.
So everything in this thread is hearsay or speculation.
Unless this case is litigated we will never know what really took place on that train.
Whether you believe the ejected passengers or not, your opinion is affected by your own worldview, because you do not know the facts.