Starbucks closing 8,000 stores Tuesday afternoon for racial-bias training

Illustration for article titled Starbucks closing 8,000 stores Tuesday afternoon for racial-bias training
Photo: James Leynse (Corbis Documentary/Getty Images)

It may be even harder to get into the swing of things post-long weekend today, especially if you’re a caffeine fan: Starbucks is closing 8,000 stores nationwide to under racal bias training after the incident in which two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia branch. Participating stores will close around 2 or 3 p.m. local time.

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CNN and other outlets are reporting more details on what that training will actually entail, describing the afternoon schedule as “elaborate,” as employees will break off into small groups: “Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz, [CEO Kevin] Johnson, and musician and activist Common will serve as virtual guides. Employees will talk about their own experiences, and watch a film about bias.” Staff will also explore the history of racial bias in public spaces in the U.S. Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Heather McGhee, president of the public policy organization Demos, contributed to the curriculum.

The training today is Starbucks’ latest attempt to make amends after that Philadelphia arrest, following up on Johnson’s promise to help prevent such incidents happening at a Starbucks in the future. Last week, the chain announced that someone does not have to purchase something to be considered a “customer” at Starbucks, enabling non-purchasers to use the bathroom and hang out at tables. (The two Philadelphia men were arrested after asking to use the bathroom at the Starbucks, while waiting for a meeting with a business associate.) CNN says that the company will make more information about the training available tomorrow, and that “more trainings will follow.”

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

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DISCUSSION

I’m a Black shift supervisor at a Starbucks in Atlanta and we just finished our session. It was more enjoyable and useful than I imagined it would be. It started out as some white liberal bullshit but the videos and discussion topics became more useful and interesting. In the end, it was about how to make our stores more comfortable and inviting for all as a way to increase business and not just about how to not be a racist. I’m impressed with the work that went into creating the training material and I think it will be useful to other organizations.