Did you see the video showing Philadelphia police officers asking two black men to leave a Starbucks, and then arresting the men for trespassing?
Here’s the sequence of events, according to the police-released 911 call:
Starbucks employee called the police to report “two gentlemen in my cafe that are refusing to make a purchase or leave.”
Officers arrived at the Starbucks.
Officers requested backup and a supervisor for “a group of males causing a disturbance” inside the Starbucks.
Police arrest two black men amid protests from Starbucks customers witnessing the event.
In response to the outrage over the arrests, on May 29, Starbucks will close more than 8,000 stores for an afternoon of “racial-bias education” training, with the intention of addressing implicit biases in employees.
While Starbucks’ training is aimed at its employees, implicit bias is often associated with police attitudes toward minority populations. For example, the unconscious association between black men and crime is thought to influence the actions and decisions of police officers–even though officers don’t realize it, and may not express any obvious racism.
Racial-bias education may be a solid first step for the coffee franchise, but probably won’t eradicate the problem.
NBC news reports that more than 400 studies have shown that current training techniques don’t consistently change behavior.
In other words, we’ve done this. We’ve seen these racially-charged videos, and reacted with outrage, and held some training. Clearly, something’s not coming together. Clearly we need to come at things differently.