Starbucks To Close One Day To Hold Racial-Bias Training

Thousands of Starbucks locations will be closing for racial-bias training one day in May. Many of these stores are in Arizona, and will be closed for hours until the training is complete. The announcement to do so was made on Tuesday, in the wake of the recent Philadelphia Starbucks incident. At least 8,000 stores will undergo training.

Originally, an individual who is speculated to be the manager of the Philadelphia Starbucks in question, contacted the police in order to remove two black men from the coffee shop lounge. The manager initially relayed the fact that neither individual had made a purchase, and police were sent. Both men were waiting for a friend’s arrival and were even denied bathroom access in the meantime. When the police arrived, the men were promptly arrested.

Since Tuesday, Starbucks has released numerous apologies, after criticisms of double standards arose. CEO Kevin Johnson has even apologized in person, to both men arrested.

The training will consist of several programs designed to correct implicit biases. The company hopes that the training will result in less discrimination among Starbucks employees. Starbucks, which has earned a reputation for being a location that welcomes anyone, will even shut down corporate offices during the training.

Social media outrage and public protesting resulted from video footage of the arrests, surfacing online after having been recorded by a patron. Questions of whether or not this would have occurred if two white individuals were the subjects, have prompted a heated public dialogue. 

Over the years, Starbucks has emphasized an emotional connection with customers, and the public at large. This is thought to be a significant reason why the public outcry has been so strong.