The Starbucks Scandal and Why You Shouldn't Call the Cops on Black People

The Starbucks Scandal and Why You Shouldn't Call the Cops on Black People

It does more harm than good. Trust me.
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An incident that took place at a Starbucks in Philadelphia on Thursday, April 12th sparked protests as two black men were arrested for “loitering.” The two men were waiting in the store for their friend who was going to have a meeting with them about real estate investments. One of the men asked to use the bathroom and the employee said the bathroom is for customers only. It isn’t exactly clear what happened in the store but we do know that an employee called the cops on the men for not ordering.

There are a lot of issue with this situation especially considering my own personal experiences as a white person. People meet at coffee shops all the time for business or dates or hanging out and Starbucks is no stranger to that environment. I, as a white person, have gone to a lot of businesses to just be somewhere and not eat their food. I’ve bought tacos at 711 and ate them in the back of a Panda Express. I’ve gone to Wendy’s and brought my food to the McDonald’s next door because the place look nicer and I’ve never been kicked out. People do this all the time. And as someone who works part-time in the food industry, it’s something you deal with because it doesn’t matter. Telling someone to leave if they honestly aren’t causing any real trouble isn’t worth the time and effort.

Another big issue with this scenario is how the call immediately ended with arrest. The clip that went viral shows police officers arresting the two men while their friend is trying to explain the situation. Again, we don’t quite know how much time had occurred between the call, the police showing up and the friend showing up, we can estimate that the entire scenario happened in a fifteen minute time window since they were meeting up with someone. That is still not a lot of time spent figuring out the situation which means the police didn’t take time to think whether or not arresting them was really necessary.

The thing is, a police call does not require arrest. I know this first hand from having to call the cops on a person myself. For context, I was dealing with a drunk person in my home who had been acting aggressively towards me and the call was a last resort. An important thing to note is that the drunk person was white. When the cops came, they questioned us individually about the situation and reasoned with him as to why he needs to calm down. They didn’t immediately arrest him even though he was an aggressor. They didn’t threaten him even though he was being drunk and condescending. They just went on with their night.

If we compare these two scenarios, mine being a little bit more extreme because I had been dealing with an aggressive drunk person, compared to two people who were allegedly loitering in Starbucks, we can see that an arrest was severe. Nothing violent happened to them during the arrest because the two held a calm demeanor, even though they knew they did nothing wrong. However, being arrested is a terrifying and traumatic experience for anyone, but especially if you are a person of color.

To me, it’s very obvious that the call was unnecessary, though for some reason other people are reluctant to agree. But this situation is not new. White people tend to view police differently than black people do. We tend to view them as a solution to the problem rather than the reason for all of the problems. A white women in the suburbs doesn’t see an issue with calling the cops on the black person walking by her house. The white boy doesn’t see the problem on calling the cops on a black person getting in a fight at a party. White people just don’t see the harm in getting the cops involved in a situation like people of color do because we’ve had the police on our sides. Even in our most messed up situations where we did need to call the cops, we don’t realize how much it could have escalated if we were people of color or if people of color were involved. But that’s something we need to consider especially if the situation involved a non-violent crime like loitering where police force isn’t necessary, where no ones lives are actually in danger.

A lot of people are saying that the Starbucks employee wasn’t racially profiling, but they were. They absolutely were. Starbucks is very much a white store. Sure there are customers of color, but it appeals to the basic white suburban community. They are very specific to the types of customers they cater to and maybe they aren’t as out about it as maybe some sports bar in the middle of Alabama, there’s still that subtle racism that I wouldn’t notice since it’s not something I have to think about as a white individual.

If you work part-time in food service or retail, you profile your customers. When a white women with highlights comes into your store, you wonder how long it'll take for her to ask for your manager. When a person of color, specifically a black man, comes into your store, automatically you profile him. You look at his clothes and you pay attention to what kind of phone he has as if that says something about whether or not he lives somewhere. You look at your tip jar and you wonder if he’ll notice if you move it away from him in case he tries to steal from it. Maybe you’re not even having these thought consciously, maybe they’re just quick passing thoughts, but what you’re brain is doing is assessing danger that you think is there because society taught you it’s there. It’s screwed up, but we do it and we need to be more aware of it.

A call for boycott of Starbucks stores has been made on twitter. The Starbucks executive has issued an apology to the two that were arrested. Starbucks is closing U.S. stores on May 29th to have racial bias training.

Cover Image Credit: pexels

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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The Disrespectful Nature Of My Generation Needs To Stop

Why choosing phone games over a Holocaust survivor was my breaking point.

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While many students that attended Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat's talk were rightfully attentive, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a few outlier students tapping away on their phones. They were minute movements, but inappropriate nonetheless.

Immediately I became infuriated. How, I thought, fuming, did my generation become so blithely unaware to the point where we could not proffer basic respect to a survivor of one of the most horrific events in human history?

Perhaps the students were just texting their parents, telling them that the event would run a bit long. 10 minutes later, my eyes diverted from Greenblat back to the students. They were still on their phones. This time, I could see the screens being held horizontally—indicating a game or a show was being played. I wanted to get up, smack the distractions out of their hands, and ask them why they thought what they were doing was more important than a Holocaust speaker.

I will not waste any more time writing about the disrespectful few. Because they could not give Greenblat the time of their day, I will not give them mine. Instead, I want to focus on a massive trend my generation has mistakenly indulged ourselves in.

The Greenblat incident is only an example of this phenomenon I find so confusing. From young, it was instilled in me, probably via Chinese tradition, that elders should be respected. It is a title only revoked when unacceptable behavior allows it to be, and is otherwise maintained. I understand that not everybody comes from a background where respect is automatically granted to people. And I see that side of the story.

Why does age automatically warrant respect? It is the fact that they have made it this far, and have interesting stories to tell. There are exceptions, perhaps more than there are inclusions.

But this fact can be determined by the simple act of offering an elderly person your seat on public transportation. Sure, it can be for their health, but within that simple act is a meaningful sacrifice for somebody who has experienced more than you.

Age aside, at Greenblat's talk, majority of the disrespect shown might not have been agist. Instead, it could have been the behavior students just there for the check-in check-out extra credit that multiple classes and clubs were offering. While my teachers who advertised the event stressed the importance of attendance not just for the academic boost, but for the experience, I knew that some of the more distracted students there must have been those selfish, ignorant, solely academic driven cockalorums.

I stay hopeful because majority of my classmates were attentive. We knew to put aside our Chromebooks, regardless of note-taking, and simply listen to what Greenblat had to offer.

It would be wrong to label my generation as entitled— that's a misnomer for the generation before. We are still wavering between the line of automatic respect and earned respect, but we need to set a line for people whom we know the stories of. Especially a Holocaust survivor.

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