Last week, a Starbucks employer called the cops on two black men who were waiting for a friend at the coffee shop. In wake of the racist incident, protests erupted.
The unidentified manager who reported the African-American men as “trespassing” reportedly left the company after facing intense backlash.
The world’s largest coffee chain now plans to close over 8000 stores across United States for one afternoon to educate its employees about racial-bias. The training will take place on May 29 for almost 175,000 workers. Starbucks believes, after receiving this training, its workers will stay more conscious and never involve themselves in discriminatory actions.
"I've spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it," Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement.
"While this is not limited to Starbucks, we're committed to being a part of the solution. 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," he continued.
The company hired some well-known people, including former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, President of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund Sherrilyn Ifill, and founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson, to help develop the curriculum for the training program.
Johnson also reportedly apologized to the two unnamed black men who were arrested and assured that he’s making changes to deal with the problem of racism in the company.
Starbucks also plans to make the training material available to other companies.
However, people are skeptic about this initiative. It is pertinent to note that just after the incident that caused people to think about boycotting the coffee giant, another video emerged on social media, where a female employer of the company could be seen discriminating against another black man.
Brandon Ward had asked the manager for a restroom code, but he was told he couldn’t use it before making any purchases. However, when a white man came out of the restroom and Ward asked him if he had made a purchase, he declined, claiming he would make one now.
People on social media doubted these training programs will change anything in certain employees who are generally bigoted and have a set opinion about people of color. If anything, the program looks like a PR stunt to help Starbucks gain the broken trust of its customers.
It’s great Starbucks will train employees on how to treat black people fairly.— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) April 17, 2018
But who is going to train whites people to not inappropriately call the cops on their black Neighbors?
Who will train teachers to not use police force on black kids for classroom management?
Unconscious bias training? But who will train the consciously bigoted? https://t.co/grRaImGsps— Marc Swogger (@MarcSwogger) April 16, 2018
on may 29 starbucks is closing more than 8,000 US stores to train their employees on racial bias and while it’s a good idea, it‘ll never be enough. racial bias will still continue to come from those who are not willing to learn, whether they are an employee or not.— kya (@nykaiya) April 17, 2018
No where near enough, however a step in the right direction. Money talks. If you want pple to spend money in your business, then train your racist staff however I will never have coffee there as I don't trust that my coffee won't be spat in or even worse. I ll stick to insta kofi— Ange Théo (@malaika_007) April 17, 2018
Yeah, it seems almost like a PR stunt more than anything— Sammy Perkins (@Perkolator01) April 17, 2018
You are right Mija. It's all just for show. A class will not remove racial bias some a person's heart— Phil (@Dadsbreak) April 17, 2018
Your one day of closing to train employees will not fix what has happened. This goes on everyday and night across America.— carlos ramirez (@thundervc2011) April 18, 2018
If you need to send your employees to such a basic and human ‘training’, then your HR department is not the greatest! Fire those who lack these very elementary personal and ethical skills and send out a powerful message.— Chicca🇨🇦 (@chiccablueyes) April 17, 2018
Has the women who didn't give the code for the restroom to a black man but gave it to a white man in been terminated yet? Location 17400 Hawthorne Blvd Torrance, CA 90504 - https://t.co/pLflaRr78A— Bklyn Girl (@LebellNY) April 17, 2018
Don’t forget to teach your employees that just because an Asian customer is standing behind me that we are together.— Ku (@EstherKuKu) April 17, 2018
how pathetic. U r only closing for the afternoon. Nobody can learn anything so vital and intense in such a short time. It's all optics. You can't fool most people. Shame on you Starbucks— 787‾ʞɔnuɐɔ (@canuck_787) April 17, 2018
Last year, a homeless man who stepped into Starbucks in Manchester, United Kingdom, for a drink was thrown out of the coffee shop because he reportedly stank. Another woman who found this outrageous jumped in to rescue the man. The homeless man was eventually allowed to stay in the coffee shop till he finished his drink. Later, when the woman registered a complaint, Starbucks said it supported its staff for the way they handled the situation.
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters, Leonhard Foeger