Published: Tue, May 29, 2018
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

List of local Starbucks closing for anti-bias training on May 29

List of local Starbucks closing for anti-bias training on May 29

Starbucks' top officials called last month's arrests of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson at a downtown Philadelphia store "reprehensible", apologized to them and vowed to turn their ordeal into a learning experience for all its employees.

The plan has brought attention to the little-known world of "unconscious bias training" used by corporations, police departments and other organizations.

A common example is white people unknowingly associating black people with criminal behaviour.

Starbucks has planned an elaborate racial bias training session for its employees.

"This isn't just a Starbucks problem - this is an American problem", McGhee said on a conference call to discuss the training.

Anti-bias sessions can incorporate personal reflections, explorations of feelings and mental exercises.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said that the training, among other efforts, will help make sure that nothing like the arrests will happen at a Starbucks again.

Workers will break into groups to undergo training.

Alexis McGill Johnson, Perception's co-founder and executive director, said anti-bias training is about awareness.

Starbucks' video about the training closes with the message, "It won't be flawless, but we're all in this together".

A good exercise she suggested was to practice counter-stereotyping, where you look for something unique about a person that is beyond their social identity. The men were also denied bathroom access at the Starbucks, while waiting for a friend to arrive. A video of the incident gained viral attention, causing a controversial discussion on race.

The men who were arrested in April, settled with Starbucks earlier this month for an undisclosed sum and an offer of a free college education for each of them. The company has also changed its policy to allow people to use Starbucks' restrooms and spend time in stores, even if they haven't made any purchases.

Starbucks is closing 8,000 stores for anti-bias training on May 29, but you can still get your beloved java fix. If customers are disruptive, employees have been advised to step in. They should dial 911 only if the situation seems unsafe.

Starbucks is closing locations across the USA on Tuesday afternoon.

"We are committed to creating a culture of warmth and belonging where everyone is welcome, " Starbucks said in a statement.

"May 29 isn't a solution, it's a first step", he said.

The program has been developed in conjunction with representatives of the Equal Justice Initiative, the NAACP, Demos and the Anti-Defamation League, as well as former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and a consultancy called the Perception Institute.

"One of the things Starbucks has to wrestle with is how to incorporate this kind of training into the onboarding of every employee", Ifill said.

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