Starbucks opens the door for important discussions regarding race and discrimination

Starbucks to close stores for racial-bias training on Tuesday

Starbucks on West Palmetto Street in Florence closed at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to join more than 8,000 other locations in sharing, listening and reflecting on the realities of bias in society. It said the workers will be paid for the full four hours.

"I said that this is not about sitting down with civil right leaders and writing a check - this is about you've got to deal with the culture in your store", Sharpton said Tuesday afternoon at a town hall on racism hosted by MSNBC in Philadelphia.

"People frequently come in to meet each other, for a date or a business meeting", said Bernadette Sebanstiani, a co-owner of Blue Oak Coffee.

Joyce Lewis says, "I'm glad that corporations are starting to stand up and say we agree this is too much".

The incident, captured on social media, sparked outrage and protests.

Some Starbucks baristas were a little less enthusiastic about the racial training shutdown than others. The company plans to hold ongoing training sessions, though without closing stores. For those who want to talk about issues facing African-American workers, they can ask their employee resource group or human resources department to arrange a personalized session, she added.

"We need to have the conversation".

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Schultz said some shareholders questioned the cost of the training, which Bloomberg estimated could total around $16.7 million in lost revenue, but he likened the spending to providing health care or tuition help for employees. Some black coffee shop owners in the city suggested black customers instead make a habit of patronizing their businesses. She said that should happen only when there is a provocation or danger. After the pair sat down to wait, the manager called the police.

Nelson and Robinson settled with Starbucks for an undisclosed sum and an offer of a free college education.

Earlier this month, a 22-year-old black man was choked by police at a Waffle House in North Carolina after taking his sister to prom, the fourth incident at outlets of the restaurant to attract national attention in less than two weeks.

There were no charges filed on Nelson and Robinson and they settled for $1 each and a promise from officials to set up a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs.

Calvin Lai, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, said diversity training can have mixed effects.

One afternoon wouldn't really be "moving the needle on the biases", he said, especially since Starbucks has so many employees and they may not stay very long.

Starbucks across the country shut down for half a day yesterday for the staff to participate in a training created to curb racism.

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