The recent arrest of two Black men in Philadelphia has prompted Starbucks to initiate strategies that will possibly solve discrimination problems at their locations. It is a great marketing ploy that is destined to fail due to the implemented process. Starbucks can only solve their present discrimination problems by implementing a scientific process that improves racial relationships. 

Starbucks proposes to utilize an antiquated process that will only eliminate the perception of racism for a very short time period rather than a process that will solve discrimination problems by transforming the organization. The Seattle-based chain announced that it will close all of its company-owned stores to customers on the afternoon of Tuesday May 29, 2018. On that afternoon, Starbucks proposes to provide training on how to prevent discrimination in stores. They intend to involve experts in the training process such as former Attorney General Eric Holder and Sherrilyn I fill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Anti-Defamation League CEO Johnathan Greenblatt.

Starbucks intends to solve this discrimination problem by providing legal advice to employees. An Attorney General is the chief legal officer of the state’s, commonwealths and territories of the United States. They serve as counselors to their legislatures and state agencies. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund is a civil rights organization and law firm based in New York. The organization is independent of the NAACP. The Anti-Defamation League fights anti-Semitism and bigotry, defends democratic ideals, and protects the civil rights through information, education, legislation, and advocacy. None of these organizations have the focus that will enable Starbucks to improve racial relationships with it’s customers.

Furthermore, Starbucks is implementing a kneejerk option by forcing its employees to sign off on anti-discrimination clauses. The specific anti-discrimination clauses will state that  ‘Starbucks employees do not and shall not on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status’ discriminate against any employee or customer.

The fallacy that presents continued challenges is that anti-discrimination laws began with the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The Civil Rights Act of 1866, 14 Stat. 27–30, enacted April 9, 1866, was the first United States federal law to define citizenship and affirm that all citizens are equally protected by the law. It was mainly intended to protect the civil rights of persons of African descent born in or brought to the United States, in the wake of the American Civil War. This legislation was enacted by Congress in 1865 but vetoed by President Andrew Johnson. In April 1866 Congress again passed the bill to support the Thirteenth Amendment. Although Johnson again vetoed it, a two-thirds majority in each chamber overcame the veto and the bill therefore became law. For more than 150 years, it seems that anti-discrimination laws have proven ineffective.  

Even though Starbucks will provide information that will help employees avoid the perception of a business that fosters a climate and culture of racism. The information will be helpful. However, information alone will not transform the Starbucks organization.

How will the proposed training impact Starbucks?

It is surmised that Starbucks will lose millions by closing their doors for the May 29th afternoon. The reality is that people who desire Starbuck products for that afternoon can pick up their necessities before the store closing.

Starbucks will also have a windfall of profits after the May 29th training. There are approximately 39 million Blacks in the United States. Many of them will visit a Starbucks after the May 29th training to evaluate the impact of the training. For simplicity, let’s assume that 10% of Blacks visit a Starbucks and purchase a $7.00 cup of coffee. That equates to a windfall of $27.3 million. If 50% purchase coffee, the windfall equates to 136.5 million. It get’s even better for Starbucks if the Black population decides to frequent the store more often and become a lifelong visitor. 

Starbucks needs to use the Self-Knowledge process that is scenically proven to improve relationships. Self-knowledge begins with developing a shared vison which is also referred to as self-identity. Next, Starbucks needs to develop the necessary information by conducting a case study. Once the case student is complete Starbucks needs to have the individual stores develop positive strategies for interacting with minority customers.  

Related Articles

Starbucks Needs A Reputation Boost: Will Closing For Racial-Bias Education Do It?

Your behavior in Starbucks may reveal more about you than you think

Starbucks’s Troubles Can Be a Test for Anti-Bias Training: Does It Work?


All the best,

Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

Author of:

  • Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships
  • Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
  • The Raccelerate Formula App
  • Treasures of Hidden Racism in Education
  • The Ultimate Guide to Classroom Racism Management

cultural diversity consultant cultural diversity consultant cultural diversity consultant cultural diversity consultant classroom management

“Dr. Campbell did his part and now all we have to do is run with it.”
 ~ Tom Coleman ~
Woodstown-Pilesgrove Public Schools Superintendent of Schools

“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.

~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor

“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”

~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President


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