Did Starbucks display implicit bias?

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

The arrest of two black men in a Starbucks in downtown Philadelphia spurred protests that will reform Starbucks’ infrastructure in the process., Starbucks is closing 8000 stores to conduct racial bias training in response to the protests according to the Los Angeles Times  However, people are not seeing the true problem in this entire situation.

The arrest was captured in a video on Twitter by Melissa DePino who was a patron of Starbucks at a time. In an article published by Good Morning America, the two men were there to conduct a real estate meeting and in the video, it showed both Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson being placed under arrest. The man that they were there to meet defended them saying, “Why did they get called for? Because there were two black guys that were here to meet me?”

Robinson and Nelson did not make a purchase from the store and were asked by the manager to leave with a warning that they will call the police if they didn’t, according to the same article by GMA. When the men refused to vacate, the police were called and asked the two gentlemen to leave the store. However, both men refused to leave as they were about to conduct a meeting with a client.

“It’s a real estate meeting,” Robinson said when confronted by the police. “We’ve been working on this for months.”

The first problem about this situation is that both Robinson and Nelson were in the wrong. Robinson and Nelson were conducting their business on private property without making a purchase. Not only that, they refused to leave when they were asked to, which gave the police no choice but to arrest them.

Sure, the police did not follow procedure when conducting the arrest, but this doesn’t negate the fact that both Robinson and Nelson were not adhering to the establishment’s rules. Neither man was entitled to be in the store’s premises. This whole situation could’ve been avoided if Robinson and Nelson just made a purchase, but they didn’t. At the end of the day, Starbucks is still a business and they have the right to kick you out for their actual customers.

Another problem that needs to be addressed is the lack of objectivity in America. People nowadays don’t bother researching any further than what they initially hear, see or read. An example would be Charlton Heston’s speech in Michael Moore’s movie “Bowling for Columbine.” A lot of people resented Heston for the speech he made in the movie but in reality his speech was edited. It is important to report situations of injustice because it is a serious and an ongoing problem that the U.S. has. From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin, there are plenty of examples of racial discrimination. The Emmett Till case in particular opened the minds of millions of Americans throughout the 1950s due to how well documented his death was. However, unlike the case of Emmett Till, DePino did not report the entirety of the story. This not only led to outrage towards Starbucks, but also toward the police as well. This whole situation made DePino appear as a hero, but she missed several key factors that led to the arrest. In turn, a lot of people were misled and thought the arrest only happened because of the color of their skins and not the two men’s own actions.