Starbucks Commits to Raising Awareness of Racial Bias
8 min read
After a highly publicized act of racial discrimination in a Starbucks store, the company makes changes to try to prevent racial bias and discrimination in its coffee shops.
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After a highly publicized act of racial discrimination by a Starbucks employee against two African American men in one of its stores in 2018, the company closed its 8,000 U.S. coffee shops for a day of unconscious bias training. The company also revised store policies and employee training practices. Harvard Business School professors Francesca Gino and Katherine Coffman discuss what we can learn about unconscious bias in corporate culture from Starbucks' reaction to that incident in their case, " Starbucks: Reaffirming Commitment to the Third Place Ideal ."

BRIAN KENNY: If you happen to be driving on I-96 just outside of Detroit, there's a billboard that will surely get your attention. It reads, "Driving while Black, racial profiling just ahead, welcome." "Driving while Black" is an all too familiar term in the U.S. and it highlights one of the many indignities that Black people endure on a daily basis as a result of implicit or explicit bias. In fact, almost any activity that seems mundane to Whites, becomes stressful and anxiety-ridden when you do it while Black. Shopping, studying, parenting, and of course, dining. It's a documented phenomenon, the journal of Black studies surveyed 200 restaurant servers in North Carolina and found that 38.5% admit to discriminating against Black customers while 59% say they've witnessed discrimination by others. Meanwhile, Black diners report that they are often mistaken for valets, coat checks, and washroom attendance. And it's not just a Southern thing. Today's case takes us to a Starbucks in Philadelphia where two Black men seated at a table, waiting for a friend, would become the latest examples of the perils of…
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