Racial bias is an issue that’s too big for Starbucks to solve

Anthony+Smith%2C+right%2C+speaks+out+during+the+protest+at+Starbucks+in+Philadelphia.+
Anthony Smith, right, speaks out during the protest at Starbucks in Philadelphia.

Anthony Smith, right, speaks out during the protest at Starbucks in Philadelphia.

Anthony Smith, right, speaks out during the protest at Starbucks in Philadelphia.

Jessica Aquino, Photo Editor

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In the light of recent events, Starbucks was under fire due to an unwarranted arrest involving two black men who were waiting for a business meeting in one of the coffee shops in Philadelphia. However, this single situation is one of the many racial biases that have been happening around the country.

The arrest was videotaped and spread all over social media, where the coffee company received heavy backlash on how its workers handled the incident.

Many people on social media were discussing how the manager at the time could have handled the situation differently, rather than calling the cops. Others were expressing their opinion on the fact the manager should be fired, which eventually they were.

But this leads into question at hand: When it is going to stop?

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney made a statement for CNN saying, “This is not just a Starbucks issue. This is a societal issue. People can react differently to others based on skin color, and that is wrong. We have work to do, and we need to do so productively.”

For the past few years, police brutality and racial issues have been prominent in America, and people are wondering when is the line going to be drawn. Have we really entered a world where waiting for a business meeting at Starbucks is a crime and warrants a police call?

Thankfully, no charges were filed against the two men who were arrested. But the fact that police were called when different solutions could have fixed the situation is what people are upset about, and rightfully so.

In addition, it’s interesting to note that people wait at Starbucks all the time without ever buying anything, yet the police are not called on them. It’s obvious these two men were arrested simply because of their skin color. There were several people who were present at the time of the arrest asking what these men did and why they weren’t also arrested when they were just sitting down as well.

When the problem first rose to everyone’s attention, Starbucks tweeted out an apology letter. Though, it wasn’t what people wanted it to be. It was short, impersonal and didn’t mention any compensation for the men who were arrested or the state of the manager who called the police.

A day after, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson issued his own personal apology and it was more acceptable than what the company had tweeted out earlier. He took full responsibility and blame and announced stores will be closing on a certain day for mandatory racial bias training.

While it is a good action on their part, it’s not going to solve the many other issues regarding racial biases. Innocent lives are still being taken by the police, and racism is still an issue to this day.

Even if Starbucks is doing their mandatory training in order to prevent this situation from ever occurring again, systematic oppression and racism is still an issue we need to address as an entire country or these incidents will continue to happen.

Photo credit: MCT Campus

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