An apology from the Napa Valley Wine Train

“No one is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart: for his purity, by definition, is unassailable.” ― James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name On August...

“No one is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart: for his purity, by definition, is unassailable.”
― James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name

On August 24 I posted a blog on this site about the 11 black book club members, all women, who were escorted off the Napa Valley Wine Train for causing a laughing disturbance. This morning, I received a comment on that post from UDownWithTPP, which I’ve shared below:

Author: UDownWithTPP (IP: , )
E-mail: [email protected]
Yes, for the dumbed down crowd, it is that simple, I guess. Or… #BeingConsiderateOfOthersWhileBlack might be a plan :/

I read the comment and laughed. Out loud. Why? Because it’s the same pandering, pedestrian tripe that accompanies most schools of thought which attempt to justify the lines drawn in the quest for racial superiority.

The CEO of the Napa Valley Wine Train offered a statement yesterday for his company’s mea culpa, which was most assuredly the result of the social media backlash. I take this stance because an apology, whether in business or one’s personal life is a PR campaign. Asking forgiveness is something altogether different. NVWT is not seeking the forgiveness of these women, they only wish to ensure that the company’s bottom line doesn’t hemorrhage.

Here’s the apology, in part:

“The Napa Valley Wine Train was 100 percent wrong in its handling of this issue,” said wine train chief executive officer Anthony “Tony” Giaccio. “We accept full responsibility for our failures and for the chain of events that led to this regrettable treatment of our guests.”

The letter to the group continued:

“Clearly, we knew in advance when we booked your party that you would be loud, fun-loving and boisterous—because you told us during the booking process that you wanted a place where your Club could enjoy each other’s company. Somehow that vital information never made it to the appropriate channels and we failed to seat your group where you could enjoy yourself properly and alert our train’s staff that they should expect a particularly vibrant group.

“We were insensitive when we asked you to depart our train by marching you down the aisle past all the other passengers. While that was the safest route for disembarking, it showed a lack of sensitivity on our part that I did not fully conceive of until you explained the humiliation of the experience and how it impacted you and your fellow Book Club members.

“We also erred by placing an inaccurate post on our Facebook site that was not reflective of what actually occurred. In the haste to respond to criticism and news inquiries, we made a bad situation worse by rushing to answer questions on social media. We quickly removed the inaccurate post, but the harm was done by our erroneous post.

“In summary, we were acutely insensitive to you and the members of the Book Club. Please accept my apologies for our many mistakes and failures. We pride ourselves on our hospitality and our desire to please our guests on the Napa Valley Wine Train. In this instance, we failed in every measure of the meaning of good service, respect, and hospitality.

“I appreciate your recommendation that our staff, which I believe to be among the best, could use additional cultural diversity and sensitivity training. I pledge to make sure that occurs and I plan to participate myself.

“As I offered in my conversation with you today, please accept my personal apologies for your experience and the experience of the Book Club members. I would like to invite you and other members to return plus 39 other guests (you can fill an entire car of 50) as my personal guests in a reserved car where you can enjoy yourselves as loudly as you desire.

“I want to conclude again by offering my apologies for your terrible experience.”

And after reading that letter, I read this in the New York Times, on the world’s number 1 athlete, Serena Williams, a black woman:

There is no more exuberant winner than Serena Williams. She leaps into the air, she laughs, she grins, she pumps her fist, she points her index finger to the sky, signaling she’s No. 1. Her joy is palpable. It brings me to my feet, and I grin right back at her, as if I’ve won something, too. Perhaps I have.

There is a belief among some African-Americans that to defeat racism, they have to work harder, be smarter, be better. Only after they give 150 percent will white Americans recognize black excellence for what it is. But of course, once recognized, black excellence is then supposed to perform with good manners and forgiveness in the face of any racist slights or attacks. Black excellence is not supposed to be emotional as it pulls itself together to win after questionable calls. And in winning, it’s not supposed to swagger, to leap and pump its fist, to state boldly, in the words of Kanye West, ‘‘That’s what it is, black excellence, baby.’’

Check and mate, beautiful people. Spend the day’s remaining moments daring to be great. And laughing. Out loud.



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Agnes Jean and Hop's only daughter. Gridiron warrior. Living until I die.
One Comment
  • Rightyourway Campbell
    28 August 2015 at 3:19 am

    White folks are always apologizing for shit they know they REALLY mean. They’re only apologizing because of all the media attention. How about stop having stuff to be “fake” apologizing for. Was there a sign that said “No Laughing”? Yeah, I thought not. This really grinds my gears to no end. They shouldn’t accept that apology.

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