Photo: Kena Betancur Agence France-Presse
The initiative of Starbucks must mobilize, four hours, approximately 175 000 employees.
A documentary on the history of Black americans, a message recorded by a rapper and a sharing of experiences on the prejudices daily : the coffee chain Starbucks has closed Tuesday, the doors of some 8000 us institutions to sensitize its employees to racism, a first closely followed in the United States, against the backdrop of racial tensions exacerbated.
A new episode came confirm Tuesday how much all of this touches on the racism remains highly sensitive : the ABC has announced the discontinuation of its very popular series Roseanne after its star, Roseanne Barr, a fan of Donald Trump, had caused an uproar by publishing in the night a racist tweet comparing an ex-advisor of Barack Obama to a monkey.
The initiative of Starbucks, who would need to mobilize, four hours, approximately 175, 000 employees, had been announced on 17 April by the leaders of the chain, after the outrage sparked by the arrest of two young Black men in one of its cafés in Philadelphia.
An arrest on the sole grounds that the two men had asked to use the toilet, waiting for the arrival of an acquaintance to consume. The incident had been captured on a smartphone and widely circulated on social networks, leading to protests with the threat of a boycott to the chain of Seattle, which boasts 100 million customers per week across the world.
As of Tuesday morning, of the posters on the doors of the Starbucks announced customers with the closing of the stores. And shortly before the scheduled time of the closing, from 14 h, some of the regulars were hurrying to stock up on caffeine for the afternoon, often supportive of the initiative of the chain.
“I find that it is a super-decision, socially responsible, on the part of Starbucks to educate their employees,” said Mario DeSimone, a young financial of 24 years, in a Starbucks in the heart of Manhattan. “It says a lot about the business she take such a step “.
“If it is sincere and more than just a communication operation, it is a good thing “, was also of the view Devon Smith, in a Starbucks located not far from the White House in Washington, dc.
The direction of Starbucks, which is listed on the Nasdaq, has denied that the media will attend the live training, but its leaders have revealed their outlines.
Apart from a session of sharing experiences, employees were required to watch a film noir recognized Stanley Nelson about the history of Blacks and discrimination inflicted in public places, a message from the rapper Common, and the messages of the leaders of Starbucks, Kevin Johnson, and Howard Schultz.
“The whole direction of Starbucks has completed the training last week,” said Mr. Schultz Tuesday on CNN. “The idea is to put yourself in the skin of people of color, understand that means there is racial bias racial unconscious exists. And see what we can do as a company to create references in order to establish empathy, compassion and a welcoming environment for everyone “.
The closure of the 8000 institutions could result in a shortfall estimated at between 8 million and 12 million dollars for the company, according to various estimates.
If other formations against racism have been initiated elsewhere — notably by the airline company American Airlines or the department store chain Target — never a company that had also publicly.
An advertisement that has put Starbucks under pressure to take care of its training, and serve as an example to other companies, in a context of racial tensions exacerbated since the arrival to power of Donald Trump.
To prepare for this training, Starbucks has sought the advice of leaders black known — as Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the Legal Defense and Educational Fund, emanation of the mighty organisation for the defence of the cause of the Black NAACP, or Heather McGhee, president of the association of words Demos, fight against discrimination.
“We have said clearly that we were not going to commit blindly to their program if we do not think that it can keep its promises,” said Heather McGhee, adding that a report would be published in June on the follow-up to this training.
Because all the specialists stress that, regardless of the goodwill of Starbucks, racist prejudices will not disappear in a few hours.
“We know that four hours of training will not solve the problem of the unfairness of racial in the United States […] but we need to start the discussion,” admitted Mr. Schultz Tuesday. “We are deeply determined to follow this long path,” and ” let’s extend this training to the whole world “, he added, so that the string now comprises some 25 000 branches in 70 countries.