Starbucks stores to shut down Tuesday for bias training

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It has since announced that anyone can use its restrooms, whether or not they make a purchase.

Starbucks said it is shutting down all its USA locations - more than 8,000 stores across the country - Tuesday, May 29, in the afternoon for a company-wide racial bias education day.

"We understand that racial and systemic bias have many causes, sources, and ways of showing up within each of us and in our communities", says one of the training videos from the preview.

That has put a spotlight on the little-known world of "unconscious bias training, " which is used by many corporations, police departments and other organizations to help address racism in the workplace.

Anti-bias training is meant to get participants to recognize their own unconscious biases and avoid unintentional discrimination.

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The men said they had gone to the Starbucks for a business meeting and were waiting for a third person to arrive.

The company offered specific guidelines in a document shared with workers. The Seattle-based chain will shutter its company-owned locations and corporate offices within the United States to train its almost 175,000 employees.

Some large retailers, including Walmart and Target, say they already offer some form of unconscious bias training.

Rashon Nelson, left, and Donte Robinson, right, settled with the city of Philadelphia for a symbolic $1 a few weeks after their arrest. "I guess it's a good thing that they're trying to change people's attitudes, but then how far can you change the attitudes of every single person".

The company has asked employees to follow established procedure when dealing with "disruptive behaviors", and are still asked to call 911 in case of "immediate threat or danger" to customers or employees. A guide advises staff to consider whether the actions they take would apply to any customer in the same situation.

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One afternoon of training can't solve deep problems such as discrimination or treating customers differently due to their race, said Keba Konte, the founder of Red Bay Coffee, an Oakland, California-based coffee company whose staff includes women, people of color and people who had previously been imprisoned.

Calvin Lai, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Washington University, also says anti-bias training can sometimes backfire. "A lot of those employees won't be here next year or two years or three years down the line".

Starbucks has said Tuesday's sessions serve as "a step in a long-term journey to make Starbucks even more welcoming and safe for all".

"One of our very early conversations is that the executive team has to do training before 5/29", Ifill said, adding that the store's executives had training earlier this month.

"We have really made it clear that one training is not enough, and this needs to be part of an ongoing review of their policies, " McGhee said.

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