Some may say it’s too little, too latte, as 8,000 Starbucks prepare to shut down Tuesday for anti-bias training. About 175,000 Starbucks employees will attend the anti-bias training on the heels of the coffee chain facing backlash after two black men were arrested for sitting in a store without ordering right away.
But what will four hours of training actually accomplish—especially when hiring practices aren’t weeding out people with biases anyway?
No matter how many times you pat someone on the hand and say, “Racism and sexism are bad,” people will still do what they want, and treat people however they want, because we all know that deep-seated views don’t change overnight.
During the anti-bias training, Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz, CEO Kevin Johnson and rapper Common will appear virtually at the chain’s locations. Because nothing screams great training more than a granola rapper. Employees will then be able to talk about their own personal experiences and watch a short film.
And then all of the racism will disappear from the earth—well, just from Starbucks—forever.
I liken this training to management training. As someone who has trained managers who can’t even manage their own daily lives, having them listen to a facilitator, read from some feel-good pamphlets and discuss problems in the workplace for a couple of hours doesn’t produce better managers.
Many companies and police departments across the country have established “unconscious-bias training,” which should really be called, “How to Stop Being a Racist, Sexist and Horrible Human,” and which is yet another way to sugarcoat the ills of society and just put a bandage on the situation.
But if this makes Starbucks feel better about its sugar-loaded beverages and the potential racists who serve them, then so be it. I’m pretty sure the employees will appreciate the four-hour nap.