Will Closing of 8000 Starbucks Stores Really fix Racial Bias?

Starbucks Barista Store Employee Worker

Starbucks is closing stores to train workers on issues related to discrimination. REUTERS Stefan Wermuth

From the looks of the video, it appears that the two Black men were careful not to put up any physical resistance whatsoever.

They were waiting for a friend and they were never charged with a crime. People of color - especially, as Simon writes, black men - often suffer the consequences of people's assumptions about who belongs in Starbucks and who does not.

On April 12, two black men refused to leave the Philadelphia store after asking to use the bathroom. But perhaps most importantly, Starbucks must be boycotted because the manager failed to consider the volumes of evidence indicating that contacting police could prove fatal where black men are concerned. In the communications between police and dispatch that were also released, someone refers to "a group of males inside causing a disturbance", and additional officers are sent. So much of this happens in the first place due to a little-known phenomenon of White Fear aka White Paralysis, or whatever you want to call it.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized in person to the two men.

Schultz confirmed the store manager who called 911 on the men has since left the company. "Commissioner Ross has said the officers did 'absolutely nothing wrong.' POWER and community leaders are gathering to demonstrate that racial discrimination is intolerable and that Philadelphia police must end racial bias and complicity with white supremacy". "Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities", Kevin was quoted as saying in a statement.

The episode highlights the risks large corporations run when they tie their brands so closely to social messaging.

Their lawyer said they have approached Starbucks to enter mediation with a retired federal judge in Philadelphia to address the matter and they have agreed. "They are breaking a promise". Still, as a mini-storage employee, she said she has been aware of her own bias at times in dealing with customers but works to keep it in check.

Starbucks has set its own high bar. Truthfully, the real change will need to happen when a black customer interacts with a front line employee.

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It can also help companies avoid missteps.

Two decades before Black Lives Matter movement, I was a human rights activist in NY. One of those stores opened in Ferguson, Missouri, the scene of 2014 protests following the police shooting of Michael Brown, one of several such killings that moved Schultz to launch the Race Together campaign. Everyone is blind to it but they know what is going on, if you get what I mean.

Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General; Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League and Heather McGhee, president of Demos, a think tank and research policy center, are assisting in developing Starbucks' curriculum.

The company also said that once completed, it will make the education materials available to other companies, including its licensee partners, for use with their employees and leadership. That announcement came after days of protests at the Philadelphia Starbucks and a personal apology from Johnson. In an interview with CBS, Executive Chairman Howard Schultz said that the closures would cost the company "millions".

"I definitely applaud that".

"When this started to unfold, my phone blew up", said Sheppard, who is black.

It will be Starbucks' second time to close stores for staff training in over a decade.

Starbucks is closing stores to train workers on issues related to discrimination.

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