Opinions

Starbucks under fire: continued discrimination should be a concerning reflection on society

Starbucks has recently come under fire for the arrest of two African Americans in one of its Philadelphia locations, which has led to the decision to close its stores on May 29 in order to conduct “racial-bias education” training with its employees.

 

With the training only about two weeks away, though, Starbucks is under scrutiny again for someone having written a racial slur on the cup of a Latino customer.

 

On May 18, the latest issue of Starbucks discriminatory actions made its rounds on the internet, this time with the racial slur “beaner” written on a Latino customer’s cup at one of Starbucks’ California locations.

 

According to NBC Philadelphia, Pedro, the customer in question, was offered a $50 gift card as an apology for the experience, but did not take it, because it felt “like an insult overall.”

 

An unnamed coworker saw Pedro pay for his drink with cash, meaning the Starbucks barista would have had to manually put his name in for the order, according to Dinorah Pérez of NBC News.

 

These continued acts of discrimination reflect a concerning trend in society of institutional discrimination among businesses, but the outcry these instances have caused shows a hopeful trend to better society.

 

These instances are a stark contrast to the company’s mission statements and values, which read: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time …[W]e live these values: Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome[, a]cting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other[, b]eing present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect[, and d]elivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.”

 

Although Starbucks’ plan to close its stores on May 29 to address these concerns of racial discrimination and blatant disregard to the company’s core values is a hopeful sign; the fact that these instances of discrimination are even happening is a concerning reflection on society’s view of those who differ from the majority.

 

It is a clear reminder that institutional discrimination still exists, even if it is more often than not implicit.

 

Starbucks is not the only company that has been caught under fire for discriminatory remarks, but the fact that two such instances have occurred within the span of a month is something that this “racial-bias education” session will hopefully address.

 

This inclination to institutionally discriminate and disfranchise individuals has been ingrained into our society since the slave trade, and it is time for the American people to stand together and call out companies and their employees that are blatantly partaking in racial discrimination.

 

Otherwise, we will only continue to ignore the issue of institutional discrimination and allow the majority’s perception of superiority towards minority populations to continue.

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