On May 29, eight thousand Starbucks locations in the United States will close for their employees to undergo “education about racial bias.” Bigotry, apparently, is judged by the company’s CEO to be a persistent institutional problem among the ranks of the notoriously progressive employees of the coffee chain.
Starbucks might want to use the eloquent, award-winning speech of Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. General Jay Silveria last autumn, as part of their training. It was very well-done. Its full impact, however, was diminished somewhat by the uncomfortable fact that the vandalism which sparked it turned out to be a “fake hate” incident.
Do you suppose that the cadets who heard that impassioned speech, resented the implication that they were, or harbored, bigots? Will Starbucks employees resent the same implication, in their employer’s decision that they’re in need of anti-bias training?
That dynamic doesn’t seem to be part of anyone’s calculations. Misbehavior or alleged misbehavior, it seems, by a member of a group, justifies casting aspersions upon and inconveniencing that entire group…after all, how else can we fight prejudice?
Soliloquy for the 29th of May
“I’m sure none of you wants to be here today,
And there’s places that I’d rather be.
But since this unpleasantness must occur,
Sit down, shut up and listen to me.
“A person who looks, skin-tone-wise, much like you,
Was mean to some men, who look less so—
Surely you see that was YOUR fault, not Starbucks’—
But she did it while wearing our logo!
“And if bigots like her, and YOU ALL, got your way
Then Starbucks might no longer be
America’s favorite, most welcoming place
For caffeinating conspicuously.
“Our name’s being chanted through bullhorns,
And our clientele wants to know why.
They need virtue signals much stronger than
Our first-class, complimentary Wi-Fi.
“So now, you’re all in for a scolding,
As you’ve already no doubt surmised,
Our diversity pro, will not let you go
‘Til you’ve been thoroughly catechized.
“Then, you’ll get your barrista behinds, back to work,
Fit to uphold our corporate image;
Remember, you weren’t hired by Chick-Fil-A:
This is NOT ‘your pleasure’, it’s your PRIVILEGE.”
Photo credit: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images