yellow line for yellow people?

I've been hearing all morning about this controversy out of Atlanta... MARTA, the citywide rail system, recently color coded its train lines in an effort to help passengers navigate the system more easily -- red, green, blue and yellow. No big deal, right?

Except that the train line headed to Doraville, the heart of Atlanta's Asian community, was renamed the "yellow line," drawing the attention of local Asian American activists: MARTA 'yellow line' to Doraville angers some in Asian community.

I'd like to believe that transit officials were just being extremely ignorant when they came up with these color codes Who knows? But even when a MARTA employee brought up objections to the name change last year, they still went ahead with it. Someone didn't think this through... or they just don't care:
John Yasutake, MARTA's former manager of equal opportunity and conflict resolution, attended what he called "a senior staff meeting" Sept. 1 where the proposed name changes for the Doraville line and other routes were discussed. Scott did not attend the meeting.

"I said, 'Hold on folks, do you realize that there's a very large Asian community in Doraville and the surrounding area?" Yasutake recalled Monday. "I was offended as an Asian man. Would we run a line through East Point or the West End and call it the 'black' line?"

Yasutake, who now works for a college in Bellevue, Wash., said the MARTA staff members didn't appear concerned that "yellow" is considered insensitive and might infuriate members of the community. On Oct. 7, after the change was implemented, he wrote to Scott detailing his concerns.

In her response to Yasutake, Scott said, "while it was certainly not our intent to be contemptuous in changing the name of the Doraville Line to the Yellow Line, we thoroughly understand the historical perspective that you shared with us on this matter."
If MARTA officials know anything about the communities they serve, there should've been a little more research and outreach -- hell, how about just a little more understanding? -- before they came up with this color coding. Is yellow just a color? It's not a big deal... and yet it is.

Asian American activists plan to meet this week with MARTA CEO Beverly Scott. They hope MARTA will change the line's name from yellow to gold.

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