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Too little, too latte: Starbucks on the road to nationwide boycott

Amidst a world where lynching has been outlawed and segregation no longer exists, people are unaware of subconscious racism, or implicit bias.  This very issue was demonstrated on April 12 when two black men entered a downtown Philadelphia Starbucks and did not order anything for two whole minutes.  After asking the men to leave the location, the manager called the police. They escorted the men from the premises in handcuffs among a store full of raging protesters.

Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson relate their experience with prejudice on Good Morning America
Photo courtesy of TheGrio

The two men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, were awaiting a realtor to conduct a business meeting.  They were waiting on the realtor to order.

“How many times have we at in Starbucks minding our own business, waiting for a friend to come, and then we order?” Andrew Yaffe, the realtor Robinson and Nelson were meeting, said to The Mercury Times.

After the shocking incident, protests began outside of the same Starbucks, located in a predominantly white neighborhood.  From countless videos of the situation, it is obvious as to why the men were arrested: the color of their skin.

“There is not a single witness that says that these men were misbehaving, and you can see and hear that in the video,” Stewart Cohen, a witness, said to Daily News.

Kevin Johnson, current CEO of Starbucks, was quick to issue an apology to the general public.  However, as one of the protestor’s signs said, it was “too little, too latte”.

Protesters are proposing a nationwide boycott
Photo Courtesy of The Pink Humanist

Starbucks is closing all of its stores on May 29 for racial bias training.  This, along with other courses of action, such as firing the manager who phoned the police, may not be enough for Starbucks to patch up their mistake.  If more serious actions are not taken, Starbucks may be on the road to a nationwide boycott. After all, this was not the only incident in which racism was perpetuated inside a public store. Others, though less popularized, still exist, such as the case of Christian Hayden’s bags being searched after leaving a Barnes & Nobles for no clear reason.

By boycotting Starbucks, protesters are spreading awareness of implicit biases, and how we cannot afford to turn a blind eye, especially if it is not only supported by incidental stories.  Statistically and nationally, racism is integrated into the US.

Newsweek reported that African Americans comprised 25 percent of the 1,129 people killed by police in 2017, though they are only 13 percent of the population; showing how, police officers, whose supposed target is injustice, may have another one.

Racism may not be as apparent as it once was in the times of segregation, but it rears its ugly head in less conspicuous but very hurtful ways.  Eliminating such wide spread injustices will require an active response by those who want to see change.

If boycotting Starbucks will help solve such a prominent, prolonged issue, maybe it will be worth the loss of a morning cup of coffee.

About Devina Tavathia

Devina Tavathia
Devina Tavathia is a freshman staff writer. She enjoys reading, writing, and is on the track and soccer team.

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