Posted on May 30, 2018

Nine Questions Starbucks Asked U.S. Employees About Race

Tariq Tahir, Daily Mail, May 30, 2018

Some of the questions Starbucks asked its employees as part of its nationwide anti-bias training have emerged.

Up to 180,000 employees at Starbucks locations and headquarters were trained from a ‘tool kit’ hoping to ‘focus on understanding prejudice and the history of public accommodations in the United States.’

The training took place weeks after two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia store after one asked to use the bathroom before he had made a purchase.

The questionnaire, which was revealed by TMZ, began by asking participants to ‘recall when you first experienced you racial identity’ and went on to ask other questions about race.

The questions Starbucks asked employees about race

The first time you..

Recall when you first experienced your racial identity. It may have been when you were a child, it may have been last week. If the scenario doesn’t apply to you feel free to leave it blank and move onto the next one.

…noticed your racial identity

…noticed how your race affected beauty standards

…felt your accent impacted people’s perception of your intelligence or competence

…altered your communication style (dialed up or down) to avoid playing into stereotypes

…had a friend of a different race who regularly visited your home

…felt distracted at work because of external events related to race

…had a senior role model in your organization with a similar racial identity as your own

…went to work with your natural hair without comments or questions from others

…felt your race affected your ability to build a rapport with your manager

They included whether employees thought race affected beauty standards, whether they has altered the way they speak to avoid playing into stereotypes and whether they had a friend of a different race who visited their home.

Information provided by the coffee giant ahead of the day, said it had worked with a number of organizations to devise the training and the questions including the Equal Justice Initiative, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fun and Demos.

It added that researchers, social scientists, and Starbucks own partners have also provided their advice, counsel, connections to other experts, and recommendations for the day.

The company also produced a video outlining the measures it was taking to make Starbucks an ‘even more welcoming and safe for all’.

Starbucks closed around 8,000 coffee stores as employees inside underwent anti-bias training for just roughly four hours.

At various locations across the country, employees could be seen going over the different steps to ensure a better environment.

‘We’ll see you tomorrow’ signs could be seen strewn up on the windows of the popular coffee chain.

Caffeine lovers found themselves stumped when discovering that the stores were closed for up to four hours.

The closings took place around one or 2pm.

And while a majority of the stores were closed for training, 7,000 licensed stores found in schools, hotels, airports, grocery stores and more still found that they had an option on if they wanted to partake in the training.

The training took place weeks after two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia store after one asked to use the bathroom before he had made a purchase.

Donte Robinson and his friend Rashon Nelson, both 23, had been waiting for a potential business partner to discuss real estate development when one of the men asked to use the bathroom and was knocked back. Minutes after the pair had sat down at the coffee shop, the manager called the police and had Robinson and Nelson arrested.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz appeared on CBS This Morning ahead of the training afternoon, to defend the move amid claims that it was simply a publicity stunt.

‘We could have spent marketing dollars different from this,’ he said in response to claims it was a ‘marketing ploy.’

‘It’s just the beginning,’ he said of the four-hour training session. ‘What we’ve said to our board, our shareholders, we are deeply committed to making this part of everything we do. This is something that we’re going to stay with.’

Schultz explained that the training would aim to teach people about unconscious bias against race, ethnic background, sexual orientation, or class, and would train staff to address customers with empathy and compassion.

‘We want to be a welcoming environment to everybody regardless of their position in life,’ he said.

The company says their training afternoon will cost them $12million in lost revenue, according to USA Today.

[Editor’s Note: A clip from the video used by Starbucks in its “training” can be viewed here.]