Anti-bias training at Starbucks needed

Starbucks Gives Racial Sensitivity Training

Starbucks Gives Racial Sensitivity Training

The two men had asked to use the restroom but were denied the request as they had not purchased anything from the café.

McGhee, together with Sherrilyn Ifill, president at NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, have been in regular contact with company executives, advising Starbucks on its program.

Harris, a D&I expert with more than 25 years experience and this year's keynote speaker at Black Enterprise's Entrepreneurs Summit in Charlotte, believes that Starbucks employees must address various biases - whether racial, about sexual orientation or other prejudices - so people from all backgrounds or the "vast market" feel safe inside its stores.

"An afternoon of training won't erase what's in a person's heart", said Nicole Williams-Burton, 48, who is black, and was grabbing a caramel frappuccino from a Starbucks in Center City. On Twitter, one employee said the training did not do enough. Racial bias is a societal issue, which is alive and well.

Elena Richards, U.S. Minority Initiatives and Talent Management Leader for the Office of Diversity at HR consultancy PwC, who could not speak specifically to Starbucks' training, said unconscious bias training should be mandatory as it educates companies and organizations and is a step in the right direction.

"We are sharing our ideas about how to make Starbucks even more welcoming", it added.

The treatment of Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson at the Starbucks in Philadelphia last month has undoubtedly cast a spotlight on the wider issue of racial profiling in this country. They were arrested minutes after sitting down for an intended business meeting. While the changes in company policies and drastic company training are important, the incident raises concerns about racial tension in the United States.

Starbucks's CEO Kevin Johnson apologised on behalf of the company, promising to take action. After the pair sat down to wait, the manager called the police.

The two men visited the company's Seattle headquarters on Friday, Schultz said, to "see what Starbucks does every day".

Over the course of four hours, the training took Starbucks employees through a series of videos and group discussions created to help them recognize and address their unconscious biases in the workplace. "I suspect this won't be the last time they come", Schultz said.

In the US, racial profiling is a serious, reoccurring issue that is neither novel nor exclusive to Starbucks.

Starbucks said the instruction will become part of how it trains all new workers.

The training will impact around 175,000 workers, with stores shutting down at 2pm yesterday afternoon.

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