Starbucks US outlets temporarily shutting down for anti-bias training

Michelle Tyrene Johnson a reporter at KCUR in Kansas City conducted diversity and bias training for employers for more than 15 years

The training will reportedly last four hours and the coffee chain will re-open at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Starbucks also wants workers to have a "real and honest exploration of bias", looking to their own lives.

The training comes after two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia store while waiting for a business associate, a situation the company has said should not have occurred.

"It would be great if more companies did that".

"Without assigning good or bad, do you notice ways you treat people differently?" read one question.

Starbucks is closing thousands of stores early on May 29 for racial-bias training. "I think it gets the conversation started", a customer, Brenna Lefcourt said. He said the focus of the training was not to be "color blind" by pretending race does not exist, but rather to be "color brave" and discuss race directly. Many at the time felt the employee's actions were racially motivated.

Starbucks has also made it clear that this is only the beginning for their sensitivity training.

"Our hope is that these learning sessions and discussions will make a difference within and beyond our stores", said Starbucks Executive Vice President (US Retail) Rossann Williams in a note to the company's partners.

'We could have spent marketing dollars different from this, ' he said in response to claims it was a 'marketing ploy'.

The company has settled privately with the men, and Starbucks has since announced that people can use its restrooms even if they are not buying anything. In the Philadelphia episode, a manager called police when one or both of the men asked to use the bathroom but hadn't purchased anything.

The men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, who were asked to leave after one was denied access to the bathroom. There did not seem to be any reasoning for the arrests, as the men sat without ordering anything. In another, documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson Jr. provides an overview of the civil rights era and viral videos of racial incidents in the past, reported The New York Times.

The pair say their experience is a teachable moment that can lead to change. "'Why do we have to do this?'" Hornes said. He says he is now a regular of Sip and Savor, an independent coffee shop in Hyde Park, just a few blocks from a Starbucks.

Americans in need of a Tall Matcha Green Tea Creme Frappucino will be left wanting today as Starbucks closes more than 8,000 cafes across the USA on Tuesday to conduct "unconscious bias training".



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