Starbucks will shut down more than 8,000 stores across America today to teach its employees about racism.
The plan has brought attention to the little-known world of "unconscious bias training" used by corporations, police departments and other organizations.
A good exercise she suggested was to practice counter-stereotyping, where you look for something unique about a person that is beyond their social identity. Starbucks' training will "address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome".
A common example is white people unknowingly associating black people with criminal behaviour.
Calvin Lai, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Washington University, also says anti-bias training can sometimes backfire.
A video previewing the training says it will include recorded remarks from Starbucks executives. From the design of the curriculum, to new technology being deployed to stores, the company is investing in each store so that the experience for all partners is meaningful and significant on May 29 and beyond.
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Starbucks's workers will be taught about the history of the civil rights movement, and break off into small groups to figure out how bias might manifest in their behavior.
Stanley Nelson, a MacArthur Foundation "genius" fellow and documentarian, made a short film called "You're Welcome". "This is just a sign that you that they want to get ahead of the problem", Varner said.
Johnson declined to elaborate on the details of the Starbucks training.
"It could be having a question that elicits something more interesting than, say, the weather or the traffic", she said. The men, who had previously asked for the code needed to gain access to the store's restroom, said they were waiting for a friend. They were arrested by police minutes after they sat down to await a business meeting. A video of the incident gained viral attention, causing a controversial discussion on race.
Early this month, the men who were arrested, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, both 23, reached a settlement with Starbucks for an undisclosed sum - and an offer to participate in an employee college tuition program that offers bachelor's degrees online. A guide advises staff to consider whether the actions they take would apply to any customer in the same situation.
One afternoon of training can't solve deep problems such as discrimination or treating customers differently due to their race, said Keba Konte, the founder of Red Bay Coffee, an Oakland, California-based coffee company whose staff includes women, people of color and people who had previously been imprisoned. "A lot of those employees won't be here next year or two years or three years down the line". Because of the incident in Philadelphia, Starbucks now says anyone can use its spaces without making a purchase, including their restrooms.
Training will be provided to almost 175,000 employees nationwide and added to the onboarding process for new hires.