Starbucks To Close 8,000+ US Locations For One Afternoon To Train Staff On Racial Bias

18 April 2018, 16:52

Starbucks racial bias stores shutdown
Picture: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images - Getty/Mark Makela
Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

Over 175,000 employees across the United States will undergo racial bias education after two high profile incidents.

Starbucks has announced that it will close 8,000+ company owned US stores for one afternoon to address recent high profile incidents of discrimination.

On May 29, over 175,000 employees across the United States will undergo racial bias education in order to "prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome."

The company made the announcement this week via their official Twitter saying, "we'll close US company-owned stores to conduct racial-bias training to address implicit bias & prevent discrimination. We're taking a hard look at who we are as a company."

This is Starbucks' latest effort to address the negative headlines stemming from TWO separate incidents of discrimination within its stores.

On April 14, the company issued a statement on their Twitter apologising for an incident in Philadelphia which saw two black men arrested for merely waiting for a friend inside a Starbucks.

A white manager at the location called 911 on the two men who hadn't ordered anything because they were waiting for their third friend to arrive. The manager is no longer employed by Starbucks.

The incident was caught on camera and has led to widespread criticism and calls for boycott across social media.

Another incident at an LA county California Starbucks location further exposed the need for implicit bias training.

A black patron recorded an exchange he had inside a Starbucks that showed a white customer being allowed to use the restroom without making a purchase while he was denied entry.

The recording of this incident has garnered similar attention on social media.

These separate incident have prompted Starbucks to respond by pledging to train their baristas and management staff on racial bias.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has said, "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.”

It may be a small first step but these incidents will keep happening if they're not addressed on a company-wide level.