Photo by: LaShauna Bell
Last week on April 19, a Starbucks location in Philadelphia had quite the dilemma to face when the company kicked out and had a pair of black men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson – who were waiting for an apparent real estate meeting, arrested. For nothing at all. Here in America, it’s no news that racism is alive and well. Stereotypes and fear of those who don’t look or behave like you is what led to policemen being called to the scene.
In response every Starbucks establishment throughout America will close for Racial Bias Training on May 29, 2018. However, this seemingly innocent announcement has already stirred up a variety of emotions ranging from agreeable applause to disapproving attitudes.
I think it goes beyond saying that in this country we all need to take a hard look at the racial injustice and stereotyping that resonates within and heavily impacts the lives of minorities. I have personally heard someone call the day of training a waste of time and an “inconveniences to all coffee drinkers.” I also heard “black people are sensitive and should stop crying every time one of themgets their feelings hurt.”
Being a woman of color, the topic of black sensitivity doesn’t even begin to scrape the surface of how people of color feel when unnecessary police action or shoo-ing from popular premises happens. To me at least, the desensitization of blatant disrespect towards people of darker shades shrouds any apology that comes from the public or franchise of any sort. Apologies mean very little, when very little has been done to bring about positive changes.
However, a day for racial bias training, to everyone not included on the “colored spectrum” could either be viewed as really neat and needed or dumb and a waste of valuable resources and time.
The day of training I believe, is necessary. Not only that, I believe that every establishment needs to hold a training session. Not to say that certain establishments truly need it and are straight bullies, but in this county not everyone knows how to live without the onslaught of prejudice trailing behind them. Stereotypes play a role in this matter since black people are constantly looked at as poor, thieves, thugs, loud, catty, and begging, bitter baby-mammas.
But why stop there, being anti-racist should be taught in more places than just eateries or clothing stores. It should be taught at school, it should be practiced in daily life, and it should be a focal point in every home. There has to come a day when police officers are not unnecessarily called on someone who isn’t physically doing anything or causing harm. There has to come a time when the way we are now – the way we treat others who don’t value our values, or believe in what we believe in, or share the same skin tone and cultures – is completely and utterly unacceptable and is no longer treated as the American standard.