Too Little Too Latte: Why I’m Over Starbucks and You Should Be Too
Sigh. Anyone who knows me knows that I love Starbucks. I mean I really love Starbucks. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I live for a good summer tea and seasonal Frappuccino.
I have a contest on this site where I awarded the winner a Starbucks gift card. If you checkout my Instagram, Starbucks is all over my Selfie Saturday posts. This is why I am so disappointed with the recent arrest of two young black men at the facility.
On last Thursday, April 12, 2018, two black men were arrested after a manager at a Philadelphia Starbucks made a 911 call claiming that the two men where trespassing.
The truth? The young men asked an employee if they could use the restroom while awaiting a friend at the location.
Starbucks has an alleged policy that if a person does not make a purchase, they are not allowed access to the restrooms. The young men took a seat after being denied restroom privileges, and then the store’s manager made the damning call.
Customers filmed the incident. The video shows several minutes of conversation between six police officers and the young men. A middle aged white man, the person who the two men were waiting for, arrives and appears on video asking officers multiple times what the men did wrong. The gentleman was not given a solid response by officers.
By the end of the video clip, the two young men are handcuffed and removed to police custody. It has been reported that the men remained in custody for nine hours.
After this event, a video clip of another Starbucks incident resurfaced online showing this was a repeated offensive by the company.
In January of this year, California resident Brandon Ward was denied access to a Starbucks restroom. He was told by an employee that the bathroom was only for paying customers.
Even after Ward promised to buy something, he was not allowed access to the facilities. However, directly after Ward was denied, a white man who did not made a purchase was given admission to the restroom by the same employee.
Ward filmed the affair, where he approached the Starbucks employee asking why the white male was given access to the restroom without having made a purchase and he was not.
After the Philadelphia incident, several protests ensued nationwide within Starbucks locations. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson rendered this statement- excerpt:
The video shot by customers is very hard to watch and the actions in it are not representative of our Starbucks Mission and Values. Creating an environment that is both safe and welcoming for everyone is paramount for every store. Regretfully, our practices and training led to a bad outcome — the basis for the call to the Philadelphia Police Department was wrong. Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did.
The emboldened statement is where I have a problem, “Our practices and training led to a bad outcome.”
What does that mean? Seriously? It appears to me, Johnson’s statement is basically expressing, “We train our employees to racially profile and this time it led to a bad outcome publicly.
This incident sickens me. Revisit my tribute post for Tamir Rice to see my opinion about black men’s place in America. If a black child can be murdered for playing with a toy gun in a park, it is possible to imagine that young black men can be arrested for sitting inside a coffee shop.
Starbucks has an image to maintain and that image does not include young black men.
Starbucks image is white women ducking in with a baby after a morning jog. Starbucks image is a business coffee between white co-workers. Starbucks image is white college students with track pants, messy buns, and university sweatshirts. Starbucks image is even carefree black girls with big curly afros and fun glasses, but black men are not a part of Starbuck’s image. Well, maybe the commercially inoffensive black men.
The super thin ones who hang out in a large group of whites, with a clean-shaven face, a V-neck tee, and a perpetual smiling face (just checkout the company’s Instagram).
Where I live, Starbucks does not even situate their physical locations in African American communities. It is silent racism that got out and embarrassed the company. That is what CEO Kevin Johnson is saying in so many words.
This only resolution to this problem is that African America’s must go into business for themselves.
Instead of fighting for equal treatment, it is time we uplift our community with our own coffee shops, hotels, parks, and restaurants. I accept the typical black man is not the face of Starbucks and if the king is not recognized, this queen is not welcome either.
As much as it physically pains me- I WILL NOT be patronizing Starbucks any more. Let’s hit companies like Starbucks where it hurts- in their pockets.
I am all for equal rights. I see every individual of every race as my friend and brother. However, I will not continue going where my people are not wanted and spending my hard-earned dollars with companies who do not see every person of my race worthy to use a public toilet.