Americans in need of a Tall Matcha Green Tea Creme Frappucino will be left wanting today as Starbucks closes more than 8,000 cafes across the US on Tuesday to conduct “unconscious bias training”.
The move comes as the coffee shop giant tries to restore its image after a cafe manager in Philadelphia called the police to arrest two black men who were waiting for a friend.
The two men later settled with the city of Philadelphia for $1 each, but secured a donation of $200,000 to a programme dedicated to supporting young entrepreneurs.
The arrests sparked protests and accusations of racial profiling at the coffee chain, which has become known for its liberal stance on social issues such as same-sex marriage.
What’s The Point Of The Training?
Anti-bias training is intended to get participants to recognise their own unconscious biases and avoid unintentional discrimination.
It’s typically designed to get people to open up about stereotypes they might have internalised when encountering people of colour, gender or other identities.
“Most people want to think of themselves as being fair ... if you give them the tools to do that, their better angels take over,” said Howard Ross, author of Everyday Bias and a founding partner of Cook Ross, which offers training on bias – and helped Starbucks develop its program.
Corporations, police departments and other public organisations often use bias workshops to help address racism in the workplace.
What Do Black Community Leaders Say?
Black leaders who are advising Starbucks on its anti-bias training program, which begins today, hope it will reinvigorate decades-old efforts to ensure minorities get equal treatment in restaurants and stores, setting an example for other corporations.
The training has been developed with help from leading figures such as the Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson, NAACP president Sherrilyn Ifill, and former US Attorney General Eric Holder, the Washington Post reported.
What If I’m In The US And REALLY Want A Tall Matcha Green Tea Creme Frappucino?
Some 6,000 licensed Starbucks cafes will remain open in locations such as grocery stores and airports, with those employees to be trained at a later time.