Three African American Racial Justice Leaders Respond To Starbucks Effort To Rectify Wrongful Arrest

Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; and Heather McGhee, president of Demos recently released a statement regarding their participation on the Starbucks Advisory Committee, which is addressing the company’s efforts to prevent discrimination in its stores.

On April 12, two black men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, were arrested by police at a Starbucks location while merely waiting to meet with a business associate.  A Starbucks manager had called the police because she said the men – who had only been in the store for a brief period – had yet to make a purchase.

The racial justice leaders issued the following statement:

“The arrest of the two young men in Starbucks is a stark example of the ongoing struggle of African Americans for full citizenship and dignity in American life. Since last week, a number of other high-profile incidents involving discrimination against African Americans demonstrates the breadth and shameful persistence of this problem.

“We were encouraged by the clear and unequivocal statements by Starbucks’ leadership, expressing their desire and intention to deal directly with the issue of racism. This is a rare phenomenon in corporate America. We have pushed and will continue to work to ensure that this highly visible moment – for Starbucks’ 175,000 employees, the other major corporations who watch Starbucks, and the country –  is done right. We have been clear from the start that the company must build a framework for anti-bias training that extends beyond the planned May 29th training and that becomes part of the company culture. In addition to the need for an anti-discrimination curriculum – which will consist of an ongoing education for all employees, with real measures for evaluation and monitoring – we made clear that a thorough review of the company policies, as well as consultation with local, not just national leaders, is necessary as they move forward.

“Even with these caveats and concerns – and, we imagine, there will be more as this process unfolds – we realize the extraordinary step that Starbucks is taking to do better on an issue that affects every workplace. Starbucks exists in 8,000 communities in our country. We see this effort as an opportunity for Starbucks to demonstrate leadership in advancing a commitment to equal treatment and opportunity in true partnership with the communities they serve. We expect to issue a report to Starbucks, with recommendations about the company’s policies, a multi-phase training framework, and the ongoing work they will need to undertake in order to really move the ball.

“We know that the problem of anti-Black bias and other forms of discrimination is not Starbucks’ problem alone; it’s a deeply American problem, made consequential and often lethal by the compounding force of unaccountable, discriminatory policing. A larger issue here is the mass criminalization of our people, and we each made it clear to Starbucks that they have the privilege and responsibility to influence not just employee practices, but police practices in Philadelphia and across the country. We will continue to advocate on that front, both with Starbucks and with the police, and welcome your thoughts about how we can make the greatest impact.”

7 Ways Blacks Are Predictable And Oppressed

If you can predict the people, there are two main things you can do: make money off of them and remain superior to them. Below are ways we keep ourselves predictable.Image result for oppressed black people

 

In Participation – We have an abusive relationship with this institution. We lean towards cooperating as employees and customers only. Forget becoming investors or owners, and those who do otherwise are made to feel bad or as if they owe the other blacks something.

 

In Greed – We focus on micro success and disregard the value of the entire race. Explicit rappers call it “telling our story”, freedom of expression or art. But they only tell that story for a buck and fame through CDs and shows. You wouldn’t find them on Capitol Hill, in courtrooms as witnesses, or in private meetings with chiefs of police telling that same story for the mere “payment” of a better community.

 

In Presence – We live in our comfort zones; around other blacks, mostly. So when opportunities are prevalent across the country, or even the world, we are unable to take part. Too many of us have no clue how dire our situation is as a group because are always around people just like us.

 

In Power – Blacks have been known to be shortsighted. We grab at the quickest opportunity even when that opportunity diminishes the rest of us; those who aren’t in power become tired of trying to educate the ones who are.

 

In Protest – We aren’t willing to fight huge battles that yield substantial collective progress. We fight sporadically and momentarily. We would fight the mistreatment from other races but not for the progress and fair treatment from ourselves.

 

In Proprietorship – Our business types are largely predictable or weak in statue. They either operate from home, the trunk of our cars or focus on lifestyle. The true American fabric-type businesses remain elusive from our desires.

 

In Protection – We have great ideas but we leave them unprotected. Because we stay in survival mode, we only go after the low-hanging-fruit. We go for the easiest and cheapest thing to get into but don’t go a step further to protect its intellectual property. Others see it, protect it and flourish from it. Now, how many stories have we heard about this example?

 

Modifying what we are known to do we make us more elusive on who we can become.