MARTA renames ‘Yellow’ line to avoid ‘racially insensitive’ perceptions

DECATUR — MARTA announced that it is changing the name of one of its lines to avoid any perceived “racially insensitive” overtones by the Asian community it serves.

In October, MARTA introduced color-coded rail lines — similar to systems in other major cities — saying it will help cut down on rider confusion. With the change, the former Northeast-South Line, which serves Doraville and Chamblee on the Northside, became the Yellow Line.

“In light of the concerns that have been expressed regarding the use of the word ‘yellow’ in connection with the Chamblee line, MARTA has decided to discontinue the use of the word ‘yellow’ and to instead use the word ‘gold,’ as suggested by some leaders of the Asian-American community,” Michael W. Tyler, chairman of the MARTA Board of Directors, and Beverly A. Scott, general manager/chief executive officer, said in a joint statement.

“The expressed concerns regarding the use of the phrase ‘Yellow-Line’ will be addressed in the most expeditious and cost-effective manner possible,” they added. “Given current financial conditions, MARTA will make these print changes as a part of the implementation of other system changes which are anticipated within the next six months.”

COMPLETE STATEMENT

At MARTA, we have been honored to serve the many diverse residents, visitors and communities of the greater Atlanta region with pride for close to 40 years. Respect and sensitivity for all ethnic groups is a core policy value of MARTA. We have always sought to understand and effectively respond to any legitimate concern expressed by our riders or representatives of their communities.

We have listened carefully to the concerns expressed by some leaders of metro Atlanta’s Asian-American community regarding the possibility that the recent color-coding of the Chamblee line as the “Yellow Line” could be perceived by some as racially insensitive. This obviously was not the intent of MARTA and we are pleased that this has been acknowledged by those who wish to have the name changed. The designation of the Yellow Line was done as a part of a color-coding of the entire MARTA rail system whereby primary colors were assigned to each rail line. There was absolutely no intent to confer any negative connotation through the use of any of the colors chosen.

In light of the concerns that have been expressed regarding the use of the word “yellow” in connection with the Chamblee line, MARTA has decided to discontinue the use of the word “yellow” and to instead use the word “gold,” as suggested by some leaders of the Asian-American community. The expressed concerns regarding the use of the phrase “Yellow-Line” will be addressed in the most expeditious and cost-effective manner possible. Given current financial conditions, MARTA will make these print changes as a part of the implementation of other system changes which are anticipated within the next six months.

MARTA looks forward to continuing the positive dialogue that it has engaged in with leaders of the metro Atlanta Asian-American community, including a meeting which will be held with key leaders tomorrow, February 12, 2010.

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