Do You Have The Courage To Confront Racial Bias?

Jun 1, 2018 | Civics and Community

This week, Starbucks closed more than 8,000 stores so around 175,000 staff could take part in racial bias training.

Yes, Starbucks staff in one of the company’s Philadelphia stores acted egregiously after calling police who then arrested two black men who were simply waiting for a friend. Absolutely there was, and continues to be, a need for education and skill building around issues of bias, inclusion, and diversity.

Given that a half day of training is unlikely to remedy intrinsic bias, nor turn every Starbucks into a utopia of inclusive harmony, a cynic might say this gesture was just a brand saving endeavor. Yet I cannot help recognize that Starbucks still at least Starbucks took some action, and plans more. The question arising for me is what is your company doing about bias? Would your company have the courage to close every single plant, office, store or outlet to train tens of thousands of employees?

Starbucks workers took part in sensitive conversations, framed within a curated structure and guided by resources conceived by a team of experts. These materials are being made available to the public. Will you and your organization take them up on this?

To help you take the plunge, listen here to my conversation with diversity and inclusion expert Joe Gerstandt on this Lives Radio Show podcast from earlier this year.

Are you ready to have sensitive conversations about difficult issues?

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Paul Gavarni Le Flaneur [public domain France, PD 1923]

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