Starbucks
26
Jan

Yes, we still have a big race problem

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A Philadelphia Starbucks protest (Mark Makela/Reuters)

Let’s review some recent racial bias incidents in the U.S., ranging from the outrageous to the ridiculous. There were incidents where cops were called on black men in Starbucks, on black people having a barbecue in Oakland and on a girl selling water in San Francisco. Earlier this month, three black Airbnb guests in Southern California were detained after a white neighbor called the police.

Moving on to the outrageous, there was the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in a parking lot in Florida. Yes, there was a dispute over a parking space that turned aggressive. But guess what, the man who shot Markeis McGlockton Sr. won’t be facing charges. Due to Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law, cops can’t even arrest the shooter.

You may be familiar with Florida’s stand your ground law. It means anyone can shoot anyone else if they feel they’re physically threatened, without facing charges. But as we’ve seen with many officer involved shootings of unarmed black men, what constitutes feeling threatened too often stems from the race of the “perpetrator.”

Several psychological studies in the past decade have showed extreme racial bias toward, and abject fear of, black men. More than one study showed that participants were more likely to shoot targets depicting black people than those depicting white people. That’s a bigger problem in states like Florida and others with lax gun laws.

Now, it should be no surprise that new polling shows nearly two thirds of Americans say that racism exists and is a big problem. Interestingly, 30 percent said racism exists but isn’t a big problem (I wonder what race they are).

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From NBC News:

Pluralities of Americans said race relations in the United States are getting worse (45 percent) and think that too little attention is paid to race and racial issues (41 percent).
Overall, a 30 percent plurality think race is the biggest source of division in America today, up from 26 percent in February. Racial tensions can be tied to large national events, but the poll also finds stark differences by race focused on everyday experiences.
Four in 10 African-Americans say they have been treated unfairly in a store or restaurant because of their race in the last month, compared to a quarter of Hispanics and only 7 percent of whites….
The poll also found that Americans are split on how often they personally engage in discussions about race with family and friends. A bare majority of Americans (51 percent) say they often or sometimes talk with their friends and family about race relations, while 47 percent say they rarely or never have these types of discussions with friends and family.

I think that last point is significant. If there is a way out of our seemingly intractable race problem, it’s more and better dialogue about race.

17
Jan

The case for mocking bigotry

POSTED BY Admin POSTED IN Uncategorized POST TAGGED 1950s, 2016, 2020, 9-1-1, Aaron Schlossberg, ads, African American, AirBNB, American, Americans, Asia, Asian, Asian-American, Asian-Americans, Asians, banking, Ben Carson, bias, bigotry, bilingual, bisexual, black, Black history, Black Lives Matter, black men, Blacks, Brexit, Bush, census, census 2020, Chinese, Chris Rock, civil rights, colectivismo, commencement, community, Confederate, Congress, conservative, culture, David Dao, democrat, demographics, disparity, District of Columbia, diversity, economics, education, election, election 2016, elections, electoral college, Emma Stone, employment, English, ethnicity, Europe, evangelical, family, fear, film, food, Fox News, Fresh Kitchen, gay, George Wallace, German, German-American, hate, hate crime, Hawaii, health, health care, health insurance, Hillary Clinton, Hispanic, history, Hollywood, housing crisis, ICE, immigrant, immigrants, immigration, immigration and nationality act, immigration attitudes, immigration trends, Indian, JFK, jobs, John Cho, justice, kavanaugh, Kennedy, Korean, language, Latino, Latino millennial, Latinx, lesbian, LGBT, MAGA, marketing, Martin Luther King, McCain, McKinley Texas, media, media coverage, Mexican, Mexicans, Mexico, midterm elections, midterms, Migrant Caravan, millennial, Millennials, minority, mixed race, model minority, money, mortality, multicultural, multiculturalism, Muslim, Muslim-American, nationalism, New American Dimensions, Oakland BBQ, Obama, Orlando, Oscars, Pew, Philadelphia, police, politics, Poll, polling, polls, president, Pride, pride parades, progressive, psychology, Puerto Rico, race, racial, racial bias, racial disparity, racial profiling, racism, racist, representation, Republican, research, RFK, Rust Belt, SCOTUS, Senate, sexual orientation, sexual racism, shooting, slavery, South, South Carolina, South Carolina shooting, Spanish, stand your ground, Starbucks, statehood, stereotype, Stonewall, Stonewall riots, stress, subprime, suicide, Supreme Court, tariffs, teens, trade, transgender, Trudeau, Trump, Tuskegee, TV, U.S., Uncategorized, undocumented, United, Univision, violence, voting, white, white Americans, white history, White House, white majority, white nationalism, white nationals, white resentment, white supremacy, White women, White working class, whites, xenophobia, Yale dorm

Does it seem like every day this month you’ve heard about people, white people, calling the cops or security on people of color sitting in Starbucks (more than once), coming out of their Air BNBs, sleeping in the common area of their dormitories, trying to return a circuit cutter at Hobby Lobby? Well, that’s because there’s been a new incident almost every day. There may be a new one today.

This open bigotry and xenophobia has been going on for decades. And it happens because white people, generally, feel they have the police on their side.

But thanks to the ubiquity of cell phone cameras and social media, we’re getting an idea of just how widespread the fear of The Other is in the U.S. Mostly this fear and animosity is directed at Black Americans. Sometimes it’s at Latinos or other people of color, like the NYC lawyer who threatened to call ICE because people at a restaurant were… gasp, speaking Spanish. Can you imagine? In a video shared by Edward Suazo and first reported on by Latino Rebels, that fuming lawyer, Aaron Schlossberg, excoriated a Fresh Kitchen employee for not interfering in people’s conversations en Español.

“Your staff are speaking Spanish to customers when they should be speaking English,” he said. “Every person I listened to, he spoke it. He spoke it. She’s speaking it. It’s America… So I will be following up, and my guess is, they’re not documented. So my next call is to ICE to have each one of them kicked out of my country. If they have the balls to come here and live off of my money. I pay for their welfare. I pay for their ability to be here. The least they can do, the least they can do is speak English.”

For those who don’t see the U.S. as a white homeland, these incidents can provide anger and outrage. And that’s natural. These are outrageous instances. I’m not saying it’s wrong to be furious with these people. And, surely the killing and beating of People of Color for no reason is absolutely a reason to get mad.

But there is also something that the internet does well: ridicule and mock those that so deserve it.

Take the incident last weekend in Oakland, California, where a white woman called the police on a black family who had the temerity to barbeque in a public park.

Yes, she used the N word. Then she started crying when the police arrived, acting like she’s the victim of the encounter. Merry pranksters online are responding with humorous memes.

Like this one:

 

And this:

Also:

And a big party was planned in that park, supporting people who have the nerve to picnic while Black.

In light of rampant – but at least not violent, in these cases – injustice, sometimes you just have to laugh instead of crying. That is precisely what meme creators have done. As for that angry racist lawyer, Schlossberg, it looks like he will be enjoying the music of several Mariachis, right at his office, gratis. No, thank you, internet-based pranksters.

Schlossberg, by the way, appears to have a history of bizarre and offensive racial outbursts. This is beyond mere racism, in my opinion. I’m not a doctor, but this guy has some serious mental issues. He needs help. In the meantime, he deserves all the scorn and ridicule he’s getting (though I hope it doesn’t make him worse).

Outrage has its place. But there’s also something to be said for responding to racism and bigotry with style, art, humor and love. The best response to others inhumanity is to embrace your own humanity.

 

 

18
Jan

Coffee and Bias

POSTED BY Admin POSTED IN Uncategorized POST TAGGED 1950s, 2016, 2020, 9-1-1, Aaron Schlossberg, ads, African American, AirBNB, American, Americans, Asia, Asian, Asian-American, Asian-Americans, Asians, banking, Ben Carson, bias, bigotry, bilingual, bisexual, black, Black history, Black Lives Matter, black men, Blacks, Brexit, Bush, census, census 2020, Chinese, Chris Rock, civil rights, colectivismo, commencement, community, Confederate, Congress, conservative, culture, David Dao, democrat, demographics, disparity, District of Columbia, diversity, economics, education, election, election 2016, elections, electoral college, Emma Stone, employment, English, ethnicity, Europe, evangelical, family, fear, film, food, Fox News, Fresh Kitchen, gay, George Wallace, German, German-American, hate, hate crime, Hawaii, health, health care, health insurance, Hillary Clinton, Hispanic, history, Hollywood, housing crisis, ICE, immigrant, immigrants, immigration, immigration and nationality act, immigration attitudes, immigration trends, Indian, JFK, jobs, John Cho, justice, kavanaugh, Kennedy, Korean, language, Latino, Latino millennial, Latinx, lesbian, LGBT, MAGA, marketing, Martin Luther King, McCain, McKinley Texas, media, media coverage, Mexican, Mexicans, Mexico, midterm elections, midterms, Migrant Caravan, millennial, Millennials, minority, mixed race, model minority, money, mortality, multicultural, multiculturalism, Muslim, Muslim-American, nationalism, New American Dimensions, Oakland BBQ, Obama, Orlando, Oscars, Pew, Philadelphia, police, politics, Poll, polling, polls, president, Pride, pride parades, progressive, psychology, Puerto Rico, race, racial, racial bias, racial disparity, racial profiling, racism, racist, representation, Republican, research, RFK, Rust Belt, SCOTUS, Senate, sexual orientation, sexual racism, shooting, slavery, South, South Carolina, South Carolina shooting, Spanish, stand your ground, Starbucks, statehood, stereotype, Stonewall, Stonewall riots, stress, subprime, suicide, Supreme Court, tariffs, teens, trade, transgender, Trudeau, Trump, Tuskegee, TV, U.S., Uncategorized, undocumented, United, Univision, violence, voting, white, white Americans, white history, White House, white majority, white nationalism, white nationals, white resentment, white supremacy, White women, White working class, whites, xenophobia, Yale dorm

Next month Starbucks will close 8,000 of its locations for implicit bias training. This is in the wake of the incident you’ve probably heard of: the Philadelphia Starbucks store manager who called the cops that led to the arrests of two black men.

What we know about the incident: the two black men said they were waiting for a friend to show up for a meeting. The manager denied the men use of restroom because they didn’t order food or drinks. The store manager asked the men to leave, and then called police when they refused to leave. As video rolled, the friend arrived as police led the pair away in handcuffs. They were later released when Starbucks didn’t press charges. In the video, they are neatly groomed, and not causing any disturbance.

Starbucks is doing damage control in the wake of extensive criticism. The company’s executive chairman Howard Schultz appeared on CBS This Morning for a sit down interview with co-host Gayle King. Schultz told King in the interview that the store manager at the center of the controversy has “left the company.”

“I think you have to say in looking at the tape that she demonstrated her own level of unconscious bias,” Schultz went on to say. “And in looking at the tape, you ask yourself whether or not that was racial profiling.”

What we don’t yet know: whether that manager had treated people of different races in the same way in the past. Does everyone who asks to use the restroom before ordering get denied? Has the management asked people who don’t buy anything to leave? Have they called the cops in the past? If these practices are applied only to African American men, well, that’s a pretty good indicator of bias. If not, well, maybe it has a policy of no loitering.

Then again, isn’t Starbucks known as a gathering spot? Has anyone ever seen an employee asking anyone who’s not making a ruckus to leave? How many writers have bought one coffee and stayed working on a laptop for three hours? Or has this changed? I have heard about a Starbucks in Los Angeles that removed many of its electric outlets to prevent people from staying all day.

The Starbucks incident is the latest in a long string of bias allegations made by black patrons against businesses. Recently there were accusations by Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe that she was racially profiled at a Chanel store.

Starbucks is reviewing its policies.  It’s pretty clear that whatever those policies are, they should be applied fairly for all races – whether they’re dressed in suits, baggy pants, with dreadlocks, etc.