Starbucks Just Learned that Virtue Signaling Isn’t Enough, You’ve Got to Be Virtuous
Remember when then Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz declared that his baristas were now going to spend there time serving coffee and lecturing–oh, oops–discussing race with their customers? Because who better to discuss race relations than a Starbucks employee?
I’m sure that’s what the two black men who were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucksthought. “Boy, I’m sure glad I’m in a place where the entry-level employees were supposed to talk about race! I’m benefiting from that discussion right now!”
Now, to be fair, Starbucks stopped that initiative almost as soon as they started it. Schultz said it was ended as planned, but people were cynical–it seems more likely that when the entire world didn’t go, “Wow! I want a lecture with my coffee!” Starbucks reconsidered.
Look, racism is a huge problem. This is one of those situations where unconscious bias–the part where our brain lies to us–plays out. Technically, I’m sure, managers are allowed to kick out people who are using Starbucks space and not purchasing any food or drink. But, the fact is, the black men’s behavior was not unusual. People met friends at coffee shops all the time, and sometimes not everyone buys something and sometimes people wait for the others to arrive to order something.
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