12 Feb Atlanta changes its “Yellow” train line to “Gold” after Asians complained
Chalk this up in the victory column. Sometimes, just pointing out something that’s offensive can make a difference. Earlier this week, Asian American bloggers like 8Asians (where I borrowed the great graphic) and Slant Eye for the Round Eye, among others, pointed out that the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, or MARTA, had named a train line that runs to Doraville, home to a large Asian community, as the “Yellow Line.”
Does anyone need to point out that “yellow” has been used as a racial epithet against Asians for centuries?
Asians and Asian Americans took offense and the decision became an Internet meme for a few days. Today, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that MARTA has decided to change the rail line to the name that critics had suggested: The Gold Line.
MARTA CEO Beverly Scott, who made the decision said she’s still planning to meet today with members of Atlanta’s Asian community. Now, the meeting is sure to be much warmer than it would have been despite the winter weather crunching down on the region.
It’s nice to see that the voices of the Asian community can be heard when they’re organized and in unison. I bet some (non-Asian) folks are wondering what the big deal it, but you know what? There’s a rule about Intent and Impact that Erin teaches in her coaching and emotional intelligence trainings, which says it doesn’t matter if your intent was good, if someone takes away a negative impact from something you do, then you need to accept that it’s negative.
The management of MARTA did just that, and I applaud them for it.