Starbucks closes 8,000 stores for training (Photo credit: New York Times)

Racial Bias Training at Starbucks

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the New York Times by Andrea Johnson, our senior advisor and professional development coordinator.

To the Editor:

Re “Starbucks Will Close 8,000 Stores for Training” (news article, April 18):

I would like to applaud Starbucks for swiftly taking action and scheduling racial bias training for employees. However, half a day of training does not address the racial trauma that the unwarranted arrest of two African‐American men has inflicted on many customers of all races and employees.

Starbucks should be a beacon for embarking on the work of racial healing both internally and externally — and not just for one day. A few years ago, its chairman, Howard Schultz, made an ardent attempt to foster race conversations with his Race Together initiative. Although it was widely criticized, it signaled a willingness to step into the land mines that surround conversations
about race.

They are much‐needed conversations. Without them we will continue, as former Attorney General Eric Holder said, to “retreat to our race‐protected cocoons” and remain a “nation of cowards.”

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