Starbucks Closes For ‘Sensitivity Training,’ Backfires When Black Activists Find Out

After a recent event at a Starbucks resulted in two black men getting arrested, the coffee chain is terrified of bad press. Their solution is to shut down their stores for a day to train their staff on racial issues, but this half-hearted attempt to quell the media is getting backlash. As it turns out, a black activist group is furious. The reason will stun you.

Starbucks’ attempt to address liberal outrage is causing more harm than good. (Photo Credit: velo_city/Flickr/bfishadow/Flickr)

It all started on April 12. Two black men were hanging out in a Starbucks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Like most establishments, Starbucks does not allow people to hang around their store without buying anything. According to the men, they were waiting to meet someone. That person never showed up, so the Starbucks staff asked the men to leave.

They refused, forcing the staff to notify the police. Six officers arrived to arrest the men. Naturally, the left-wing media blew the event out of proportion — citing racism. They seem to forget that anyone loitering in a store is in jeopardy of getting arrested. When two large, intimidating men become belligerent towards staff, they have little recourse left but to get the police involved.

The limp-wristed liberals who run Starbucks were terrified of the bad press. In all likelihood, few of the millions of customers who flock Starbucks daily cared. But the loudmouth harpies that run social justice blogs make enough noise for the rest of the nation. They made a big deal out of it, so Starbucks had to respond.

What was their brilliant solution? Shutting down all their stores on May 29 to train their staff over “implicit bias.” Yes, bias. Because the staff at the Philadelphia store were clearly racist for following the company’s own rules regarding loitering. All this dustup is clearly a ploy to improve the company’s image.

However, it seems like one activist group isn’t buying it. They are now calling out the coffee chain over this stunt, claiming the training will violate their staff’s civil rights. How ironic.

The National Center for Public Policy Research’s Project 21 warns that Starbucks’ plan to shutter thousands of its stores on May 29 to train 175,000 employees in “implicit bias” could violate workers’ civil rights…

Project 21 is asking the federal government to “look into whether blanket assumptions by an employer in such situations constitute a violation of employees’ civil rights.” [Source: Breitbart]

“Not only does implicit bias training on the part of employers eat up valuable time that could be spent training employees on safety, teamwork and building morale, the targeting associated with bias training is divisive,” Project 21 co-chairman Stacy Washington said in a press release. “When employees are trained to focus on their differences, the camaraderie necessary to work together is destroyed. Mistrust in fellow coworkers is sown, and those the training is intended to help are actually harmed in the long run.”

I could have told you all that. We all know this training is a PR stunt to get Starbucks back in the left’s good graces. Liberals threw a hissy fit over the arrest of two black men. Instead of showing some guts and supporting their staff, Starbucks is cowering before the social justice Gestapo with this empty gesture.

I can hardly believe the staff at the Philadelphia Starbucks had “implicit bias.” I’ve been to many Starbucks across the country. Everyone who works there is friendly, professional, and polite. Obviously, they’ve received appropriate training on how to work with customers. So why this extra day? It’s a sham.

Project 21 raises another amazing point. This training suggests there are Starbucks employees who are naturally racist or prejudice. They possess some kind of bias that needs to be stamped out by the company. That certain comes across as an ugly bias on the company’s part, and it sows divisiveness among staff. After all, the black and minority employees will now have cause to worry about their white co-workers.

Employers are increasingly adopting so-called “implicit bias” training, which targets employees by race or gender. Not only are the tests associated with unconscious bias well short of meeting scientific standards, but because they purport to aid employers in targeting employees primarily based on their race or ethnicity and/or their gender they potentially allow employees to be assessed, disciplined or promoted on the basis of race or gender activity which Title VII specifically bars. Whether based on good intentions or not, an employer’s plan to hire, promote or advance employees who are minority and/or female using implicit bias as a motive disadvantages non-minority and male employees. [Source: Project 21 Letter to Acting Assistant AG John M. Gore]

Pretty damning, if you ask me. Like in so many other cases, the left’s attempt to fix a “problem” only creates more problems. Starbucks — in trying to appease the social justice mob — is actually violating their staff’s civil rights. Maybe they should have just stood by their employees and moved on.