Starbucks To Close Over 8,000 Stores For Racial-Bias Training

Starbucks plans to close over 8000 stores for an afternoon on May 29, to train almost 175,000 workers about racial-bias.

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.












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

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