It’s not a Starbucks problem…it’s an American problem. What happened in Starbucks happens everyday in America, several times as day. Explicit bias refers to the attitudes and beliefs one has about a person or group of people on a conscious level. Much of the time, these biases and their expression arise as the direct result of a perceived threat, the main reason, the police were called in this case, I would presume. Explicit bias can not only be extremely disruptive but deadly. It’s often why many unarmed black men have died at the hands of police or citizen vigilantes. Many members of the black community know full well this Starbucks incident could have easily turned violent if the wrong group of cops had taken the call (the group of cops who did answer the call, were far from the best or the brightest). So forgive me for not being here for the former white female manager and her family’s suffering.
Sometimes you just have to send a message by making an example out of people. Unfortunately, the only thing people respond to is the bottom line or loss of money. Apologies are fine and I like Starbucks but they should be sued over this as should the Philadelphia police department. People hate lawyers for litigating these types of cases, but lawyers have their place in changing the world. Change is good.
Instead of required diversity training which many agree doesn’t work, maybe it’s time for employers to become more proactive in utilizing tools which will gauge explicit bias in prospective employees and most importantly detect individuals who have explicitly racist tendencies so they can avoid employing these individuals to began with but refer them out to professionals who may be able to assist them in getting over this issue. I realize this could open up additional issues, for those who would argue this would be discriminatory towards whites, as let’s face it, they tend to be the main offenders of explicit bias which often lead to explicitly racist incidents. At the end of the day, the risks outweigh the benefits. In the age of social media and camera phones, these individuals’ actions can sink a company, it’s brand and possibly have many other workers out of a job. People will argue anything, often times just to be the opposite of others. Maybe there are those who would still argue the right to hire individuals whom are prone explicit bias. One thing I do know, regardless of your life experience, how you were raised or taught you can “unlearn” thoughts, ideas and behaviors rooted in bias.
Moral of the story: Being a racist is a choice. Don’t be a racist. It’s very costly.