Published: Wed, April 18, 2018
Business | By Kate Woods

Starbucks Will Close Stores for an Afternoon to Train Employees on Race

Starbucks Will Close Stores for an Afternoon to Train Employees on Race

In a Facebook Live video posted Saturday, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross defended the arrests and said officers three times asked the two men politely to leave.

The pair were not charged after Starbucks declined to proceed with trespassing charges and they were quickly released.

Starbucks is trying to tamp down a racially charged uproar over the arrest of two black men at one of its stores in Philadelphia.

Now CEO Kevin Johnson is scrambling to keep the Philadelphia incident from shattering the message the company was going for: Starbucks is a corporation that stands for something beyond profit.

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In response to the incident, Starbucks apologised and in a statement released on Tuesday evening explained that it would be carrying out "racial bias training" for its 175,000 employees.

Implicit bias is the automatic associations people have in their minds about groups of people, including stereotypes. "I'm looking forward to spending the next two days meeting and visiting with them personally", said Johnson in his company video statement. "We refuse to believe that our unconscious bias -the racism we are often unaware of-can and does make its way into our actions and policies". The officers were not wearing cameras, he said.

Johnson says he appreciates "the transparency and the spirit with which" Starbucks and the city are "working together".

Video shows several police talking quietly with two black men seated at a table. He said the officers "did absolutely nothing wrong" and were professional in their conduct toward the individuals but "got the opposite back". "While this is not limited to Starbucks, we're committed to being a part of the solution".

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The aim is to prevent discrimination in Starbucks stores.

Another black Starbucks customer claims he was denied entry to the bathroom - moments before a white man was let in without buying anything.

"But when they're busy doing their job, they're distracted".

It involved baristas scribbling the words "Race Together" on cups and attempting to "engage customers in conversation through Race Together stickers available in select stores", Starbucks said. "This is a management issue, and I am accountable to ensure we address the policy and the practice and the training that led to this outcome". "We have work to do, and we need to do so productively".

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