Starbucks across America to close early for anti-bias training

Starbucks across America to close early for anti-bias training

How much will closing for a few hours on Tuesday afternoon cost Starbucks? In addition to announcing the racial sensitivity training, Starbucks also overhauled its store policy to prevent similar incidents.

Starbucks-licensed outlets, such as those found in colleges or supermarkets, or inside other retail outlets, are not included among the 8,000-plus company-owned stores confirmed to be closing in Starbucks' announcement, and not required to close.

It's typically created to get people to open up about implicit biases and stereotypes involving race, gender and other identities.

The Perception Institute, a consortium of researchers consulting with Starbucks, defines implicit bias as attitudes - positive or negative - or stereotypes someone has toward a person or group without being conscious of it. Of course, $12 million is hardly a dent in the company's more than $22 billion annual revenue, and executives view the training day as an investment rather than a financial loss. Target says it plans to expand that training.

Anti-bias sessions can incorporate personal reflections, explorations of feelings and mental exercises.

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But one Australian expert says the training - which will include a talk by the rapper Common - is unlikely to work. Each employee had been given a Starbucks branded booklet titled "My notebook", and were watching videos on tablets. Future trainings will address all aspects of bias and experiences.

Johnson declined to elaborate on the details of the Starbucks training.

"If they haven't trained their employees to handle situations like that, they need to shut it down and try to do all they can to make sure their employees don't make that same mistake again", said Mathis, who is black. Employees at the store called the police when the men refused to leave after asking to use the restroom without having purchased any drinks.

The men were arrested after a white manager called police on them as they waited inside the coffee house for a business associate.

Since footage of the arrest went viral, Starbucks has been grappling with its treatment of people of color and questions of unconscious racial bias at the chain.

The company's chief executive, Kevin Johnson, flew to Philadelphia to meet with Nelson and Robinson, who later reached a settlement with Starbucks for an undisclosed sum. Protestors eventually swarmed the location, asking customers around the nation to boycott Starbucks.

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