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April 17, 2018

DAILYKENN.com -- It's just my opinion, but the sensitivity training event planned by Starbucks is not intended to fight against racism. Rather, it's intended to fight for racism. 

Starbucks has a policy that prohibits loitering and trespassing. If an individual hangs out at a store without making a purchase, that constitutes trespassing.  

Blacks, however, are apparently exempt. 

When two blacks men were trespassing, a Starbucks manager asked them to leave. They refused. Police were called, the men were handcuffed, and a national firestorm ensued. 

It appears the purpose of Starbucks thought reform training is to hyper-sensitize white employees to provide privileged treatment to non-whites; particularly blacks. 

Favoring one race over others could be construed as racism. 

Presuming the manager's motive for shewing off the trespassers was racist ... is racist. 

Subjecting white employees to through reform sessions is racist. 

Stereotyping white people as racist is racist. 

Stereotyping white people as privileged is racist. 

The national obsession with white racism is racist. 

From Reason ▼

... implicit bias training is unlikely to solve the problem.

According to press reports, the two men entered the Starbucks and asked for the key to the bathroom. But bathrooms at Starbucks are only for paying customers, and the two men hadn't ordered anything yet. Having been denied access to the toilet, they took a seat at a table, claiming that they were waiting for a friend to arrive before they ordered. The manager then asked them to leave. After they refused, she called the cops, who arrested them for trespassing.

They were trespassing. There is no inalienable right to sit in a Starbucks; if the manager asks you to leave, you should leave. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross has drawn criticism for defending the officers who made the arrests, but the cops did what they were supposed to do, given the situation. The mistake was the decision to call the cops in the first place.

People routinely come into Starbucks, sit down, and wait for someone else to show up before ordering. I have done this dozens of times, and I have never once had a problem. The fact that such behavior so irked the manager in this specific case is what raises the possibility of racial bias.

I realize that it can be annoying for Starbucks employees, and for other customers, when people occupy valuable real estate inside a store for a long period of time without consuming, or paying for, a Starbucks product. The Starbucks locations I frequent are often filled way beyond capacity, with seemingly every seat taken by people who looks like they finished their coffee hours ago. Obviously, Starbucks is losing money if people are just sitting there for long stretches of time, using the wifi but not buying anything.

But that's a general defense of kicking people out of Starbucks when the place is busy, not a claim about what was happening here. Since we have only limitated video footage of the incident, we don't know how crowded the shop was, or even if it was crowded at all. It's perfectly plausible that in this case the policy was selectively enforced in a racist way.



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