Sorry, Starbucks, Hosting Implicit Bias Workshops Is Not A Plausible Solution
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Sorry, Starbucks, Hosting Implicit Bias Workshops Is Not A Plausible Solution

In the wake of racial discrimination via Starbucks, CEO Kevin Johnson plans a nationwide shutdown of Starbucks on May 29th to host Implicit Bias Workshops. However, these workshops are nothing more than a small band-aid to a national social issue.

Sorry, Starbucks, Hosting Implicit Bias Workshops Is Not A Plausible Solution

The ubiquitous coffee chain Starbucks has been under fire in the news recently after a Starbucks manager in Philadelphia had two black men forcibly removed by police for occupying a table without making a purchase, while waiting for a friend.

Shortly after the incident occurred, the CEO of Starbucks, Kevin Johnson, released an apology via Twitter, as well as through CNN, stating his deepest condolences to the two young men who were arrested, and promised that he would review their policies and continue to engage with the community and police department to ensure this type of situation doesn't happen again.

However, in a separate incident on the West Coast, Brandon Ward was about to make a purchase at a Starbucks in L.A. when he asked to use the restroom, he was denied the "bathroom code." He then approached a white man coming out of the bathroom, asked him if he had made a purchase to gain access to the code, but the white man had not made a purchase but was able still able to use the restroom.

After both of these incidents transpired, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson stated that all Starbucks locations would be closing all of its locations to hold racial implicit bias workshops.

Implicit bias, a term that is drawn from social psychology, refers to the unconscious attitudes and stereotypes held by individuals around certain groups of people. People act on implicit bias in prejudicial and discriminatory ways without realizing it. A great example of this would be assuming a black man is less than a white man, despite having similar resumes and skill sets.

On the other hand, we have explicit bias which refers to the attitudes and beliefs we have about a person or group on a conscious level. Much of the time, these biases and their expression arise as the direct result of a perceived threat. When people feel threatened, they are more likely to draw group boundaries to distinguish themselves from others.

The incidents that occurred at Starbucks are clear examples of explicit bias. Nothing about the behavior is implicit because a Starbucks manager perceived the black men as a threat, therefore expressing his explicit bias towards CONSCIOUSLY calling the police to have them removed for "trespassing."

I, for one, believe that these workshops will NOT stop people from their conscious and unconscious behaviors of racism, due to the fact that racism is TAUGHT. It is a learned behavior that is inherently passed down from peers, family, and even media.

These implicit bias workshops, which rely heavily on social psychology to understand and overcome our brain's unconscious racial biases and stereotyping, are concerning because it is masking the explicit and structural bias qualifiers that form racial violence and attitudes.

These workshops are nothing more than a PR/Publicity stunt to avoid legal liability and to reach out to race organizations seeking solutions. This is an easy out to the genuine solutions to racial discrimination and violence, which are much more complex, time-consuming, and expensive.

If we want to be real, the only way to avoid explicit and implicit bias is to create social norms which dictate that prejudice and discrimination is not socially acceptable.

However, we live in a country, in a WORLD, that thrives off of the incidents of prejudice and discrimination by showing a lack of attention and wrongdoing.

Interracial tensions that happen between majority and minority ethnic groups in the United States can be avoided if everyone would understand that we are all human beings that bleed the same blood as everyone else.

Implicit bias training falls short in analysis and vision. These training sessions will only falsify the vision they are trying to portray, in which Starbucks employees will begin to omit the centrality of the complex dynamics of class, gender, and sexuality in black America. The vision is far too narrow and misleading.

Bottom line: Starbucks' racial implicit bias training is not a victory. You want to see change? Make people uncomfortable and if you can't make people feel uncomfortable about their explicit and implicit biases, then it's probably not working.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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