General Question

flo's avatar

What if Starbucks underplayed (the racism or "racism" case) and France (the Malian hero case) events?

Asked by flo (11432points) May 29th, 2018

I’m asking that because there are critics.
What would have been the right thing to do according to the critics of Starbucks and France, respectively. (Google/Starbucks/Washington Post)
Malian hero/France’s /Emmanuel Macron (Google/NBCnews)

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21 Answers

flo's avatar

I’m not referring to the blatantly racist people by the way, of course they would be critics.

canidmajor's avatar

I have no idea what you’re asking. I read the two links, but not the comments (did you want us to read the comments?) and find no “underplaying”.

flo's avatar

@canidmajor No, Starbucks and France didn’t underplay it. That’s why the what if part.

flo's avatar

I don’t mean the critics on comments, I haven’t read them.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Starbucks is requiring employees to complete some training on racism. I think Flo is asking, what if starbucks didnt take such steps? Like basically, what if they ignored it?

canidmajor's avatar

Then it would be old news and a non-issue.

Yellowdog's avatar

It really depends on how busy Starbucks was, and if they were losing money and/or inconveniencing others who were waiting for a table or seat.

Anyone can sit at a table or other seat at Starbucks and do whatever. But if people are waiting to sit down who have made purchases, that’s who the tables are for.

In a restaurant, you wait in a lobby or vestibule area until your party arrives.
If you take a table, you order something.
You don’t take up space for an hour or more if you are not ordering beverages at least.
And, f you are asked to leave, you leave.

How convenient they are black and can cry racism.

Starbucks is probably the must multicultural, diverse establishment anyone can name. The entire thing, sensitivity training—what a joke!

RocketGuy's avatar

@Yellowdog – so how come non-black people can sit around without making a purchase and not get arrested?

Darth_Algar's avatar


Starbucks’ brand image is build around being the place you come in, sit around for however long you wish, use their free wifi, conduct your business, etc even if you don’t order anything. That’s the cachet they trade in. They’re going for the traditional coffeehouse-as-a-communal-social-hangout vibe. They no longer need to rely on sales at their physical locations in order to make money. Their locations maintain their image, which they use to sell metric fuck-tons of Starbucks-branded products at convenience stores and grocers. Letting people occupy their spaces for nothing maintains that image. Shutting down every location for a day for sensitivity training was a masterstroke of public image promotion and speaks volumes about how much their business model really depends on coffee sales at their physical locations.

notnotnotnot's avatar

@Yellowdog: “How convenient they are black and can cry racism.”

This is some proud, ignorant, racist shit right here.

Yellowdog's avatar

Traditionally, yes, Starbucks is a coffee house and people can come and sit around.

But if any such establishment is primarily there to serve their customers, then that’s who the space is for. Why should people who come in and make purchases be deprived a seat?

Why should people take up a booth or table space for hours (yes, it was hours) and just gee-jaw around without making a purchase?

And lastly, racism runs against the entire ethos of what Starbucks is about. They are a diverse, intellectual, coffee-house culture that appeals mostly to intellectuals, the arts, people who exchange ideas, hipsters, academics, etc etc. ESPECIALLY those who promote diversity. Racists are not among these lines or social circles.

Starbucks needs no racial sensitivity training They ARE racial sensitivity training.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Yellowdog Ask the two guys arrested on TRUMPED charges about how diverse Starbucks was about them being in the Starbucks. Action was racist and biased, but not in your POV.

Case closed.

Darth_Algar's avatar


Why do I get the feeling that my post just sailed right over your head?

_“But if any such establishment is primarily there to serve their customers, then that’s who the space is for. Why should people who come in and make purchases be deprived a seat?

Why should people take up a booth or table space for hours (yes, it was hours) and just gee-jaw around without making a purchase?“_

Because that is precisely what Starbucks wants. They want people to sit around and idle. Again, brand image. People who just go to Starbucks for a coffee and/or muffin don’t sit around anyway. They walk up to the counter, grab their coffee and go.

“Starbucks needs no racial sensitivity training They ARE racial sensitivity training.”

My god man, do you really have no clue about how that act boosts their public image? It isn’t about needed it or not, it’s about making the brand look good.

flo's avatar

But it doesn’t seem to me it was Starbucks policy to call the police.

But anyway my OP is about if they kind of ignored, it it would have been worse. So, damned if you do damed if you don’t. So, @SergeantQueen Yes that’s what I mean.

Yellowdog's avatar

I have read your responses to my answers and I see that you are all correct.

Lets find out who owns the Starbucks corporation and start working on getting it shut down. They’ve been making shitloads off the diversity crowd pretending to represent their values and beliefs. Now we can see their true colors. Ever notice how there are no Starbucks in traditional African American neighborhoods or rural African American towns in the deep south?

flo's avatar

@Yellowdog Considering your previous posts “I have read your responsesto my answers and I see that you are all correct.” your last post sounds like sarcasm

Darth_Algar's avatar


It’s not even sarcasm, now he’s just shit-posting.

Yellowdog's avatar

Actually I am not.

Why should I be loyal to Starbucks? They charge too much and pretend to be for diversity. The crowd they cater to pretend to be inclusive, or maybe like the persona of diversity.

But Starbucks’ demographic needs/requires a liberal, intellectual, WHITE base.
You never see a Starbucks in a black neighborhood, an Hispanic neighborhood, nor an Asian immigrant community,.

Southwest Tennessee Community College here in Memphis is about equally divided among Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians—same for their faculty hires as for students. There is a small percentages of whites—maybe 5 percent, But there is no STARBUCKS near ANY of their campuses or respective communities. Starbucks is primarily catering to the well-monied and mostly white suburbs.

I’d like to think they attract Youth Hostel and International and Interracial types, but they are actually very white and for rich Suburbanites—and maybe some white University types who pretend to be diverse.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Who asked you to be “loyal” to Starbucks?

And yeah, your last couple of post read like you’re just trying to stir the pot now.

Yellowdog's avatar

Before, I was defending Starbucks because they were diverse and not racists. Not deserving the racist charge and needing the sensitivity training.

But LOOK at who they cater to—rich white people—bilking them of money and PRETENDING to be diverse. White people can have their white intellectual coffee space while pretending we’re a part of a diverse, Indie subculture.

For a price, of course. What hypocrites !

Soubresaut's avatar

@Yellowdog, what you’re describing is one example of one effect of systemic racism. It’s not just pricey coffee shops like Starbucks that certain low-economic/impoverished areas don’t have access to. However, blaming individual stores won’t do anything to solve this problem. On a surface level, we can understand it as a result of the free market. If an area is too impoverished for the people to afford a store, it won’t have a presence there. On another level, we can see how this has real consequences for people. One of the more troubling results has been given the name “food desert”—when there is no grocery store in a community, making it difficult if not infeasible for people in that area to get adequate nutrition. There are people and sources that explain it better than I can, if you look up the term. There are people working to address those kinds of issues as we speak, so that fewer people suffer, though I can’t say I know specifically what they’re doing or how well they’re succeeding.

Getting to the racism part of it: systemic racism is a distinct issue from an individual acting in racist ways, though the two kinds of racism are certainly related, and in some cases can be one in the same. Systemic racism is the ways our society is structured which perpetuate racial disparities—which can sound lofty when said that way, but when it’s broken down into specific examples, it’s quite grounded in measurable data and lived experience.

It can be easy to say “our laws no longer allow racism, so it no longer exists,” but even a cursory review of history will show it’s not that simple. If you have Netflix, I recommend you checking out the show “Explained,” in particular its first episode, titled “The Racial Wealth Gap.” It’s only 15 minutes long. In addition, or instead, I recommend you listen to this podcast episode, which is directly related to that episode of the show. It’s a little lengthier, at 83 minutes, but well worth the listen. Either one of these, or both, provide a focused discussion on an issue that illustrates some of the mechanisms behind systemic racism, as well as how it intersects with personal biases.

Back to Starbucks: at first, @Yellowdog, you seemed to try and argue that since Starbucks as a brand was about diversity, that the individual employee could not therefore be racist (despite the information that has come out about the incident, including the many customers who witnessed and spoke out against that individual’s racist behavior). You then seemed to switch, and suggest that Starbucks as a whole is racist (for systemic racism issues I discuss above, which are indeed real issues in society), but still will not say the individual’s actions were racist. (Again, despite the information and witnesses saying otherwise.)

I’d like to point out that what individual employees do at a store—including racist behavior like was witnessed at that particular Starbucks—is not necessarily what the store as a whole represents. Even so, how the company responds matters. Starbucks made an effort to distance itself from that employee and her actions, and to show that they in no way condone that sort of behavior. With their day of training, and the “drama” of shutting down their stores for a partial day, they also made an effort to show they would try and improve whatever it was that led to that incident. They were willing to acknowledge (and to a certain extent confront) a topic that much of the US would rather sweep under the rug: racism. At least they did that much.

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