Ever since two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks earlier this month, the coffee chain has faced public scrutiny for its failure to maintain a commitment to diversity across the board.
As a result, the company announced that on May 29, it will close 8,000 of its stores for an afternoon to hold a racial-bias training session with its employees. However, many non-white employees have spoken out to remind the public that racism doesn’t only exist within the team, but among Starbucks patrons as well.
"I have been asked not to make someone's drink while they spoke to me in mock-Spanish, asking me to have my white coworker make the drink instead," 21-year-old Angela De La Torre recounted.
She added: "I have been called 'rude' and asked to 'please speak English' while sharing private conversations with other Spanish-speaking co-workers. Other Latino coworkers have been told to 'go back to Mexico' and that they're stealing a good job from someone 'from here.'"
Additionally, a Houston-area Starbucks employee only identified as MC said she experienced racism at other Starbucks locations during her time off.
"I've been watched and denied the restroom even though I was a partner at the time," she said. "But I always knew it was the people, not the company. And after that, I just left and made a mental note that this isn't an area where I'm welcome."
Then, there are the many customers who have launched selfish complaints online about Starbucks’ decision to close for an entire afternoon to conduct the trainings.
Starbucks is replying to people on their post? I see. pic.twitter.com/OK7SzI8WxR— Mrs. Grotke (@__BHB__) April 19, 2018
These folks were swiftly shut down by Twitter user Ty, who is white and claims to be an employee of Starbucks.
Using the handle, @the_myleg_fish, Ty called out the privilege of all those who fail to see the value in holding space to check and correct racial bias.
So I work at Starbucks and I have already had 3 white women ask about the May 29 closing for racial bias training, saying how inconvenient it is. You know what is even more inconvenient to black people, Karen? Racial bias that gets them shot and killed for just existing.— ty (@the_myleg_fish) April 18, 2018
I'm not ashamed of what I said. I stand behind my tweet. Racial bias is a huge issue in America and if you hear that Starbucks is closing one afternoon for a few hours to discuss racial bias, and your only concern is how will you get coffee that day, you have a problem. https://t.co/nTGqJ48Tlw— ty (@the_myleg_fish) April 20, 2018
A Starbucks press release states that “the company will make the education materials available to other companies” following the training. However, they may want to consider sharing a version with the general public as well to address the racism that plays out on both sides of the counter.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn