Racial bias is a real issue and the most recent viral event at Starbucks shows that as well as anything.
For those who aren’t familiar, two black men were arrested and escorted out of a Philadelphia Starbucks on April 12 for suspi- cion of trespassing. They entered the building and sat while waiting for a business partner. A manager asked if they wanted to purchase anything and they declined. The police were then called approxi- mately two minutes after the men entered the building and they were arrested.
According to the men, they were not told what they were being arrested for or read their rights. Despite one Starbucks offi- cial describing the stores as com- munity hubs where people could meet and use WiFi without mak- ing purchases, the incident still took place.
What happened was wrong and also a function of racial profiling and that’s something I would think everyone could agree upon. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
“They were asked to leave because they were not paying cus- tomers. They refused. Why can’t black men act civilized?” A comment from Fox News’ Facebook page said.
This comment, although more blatantly racist than most of the others, echoed the sentiments seen scattered throughout a comment section that is riddled with comments about how no one would care if this happened to white people.
“They’re only getting criticism because the two men were black. What’s new?” Another commenter on in the same comment section said.
Despite the fact that this sit- uation seems to strongly point towards it being an act of racial bias and prejudice, so many white people seem to be afraid of admit- ting that racism exists in modern America. Rather than recognizing and condemning a racist situation, many white people instead took
this opportunity to play the victim and act as if the incident getting media coverage is completely unwarranted and only because they’re black.
The suggestions in the com- ment section repeatedly attack the media for reporting on racial issues and that isn’t anything new.
“Hating America seems to pay him well. Only its a loss for the book co coz liberals and blacks dont read and conservatives wont buy it,” a woman in a Fox News comment section on Facebook said about Colin Kaepernick’s book deal.
These comments took me in total, approximately five minutes to find and I had about 10 others that also would have fit. Keep in mind that these comments call- ing black men uncivilized and say- ing they can’t read weren’t taken down by Facebook’s vetting pro- cess, so it is unknown what kind of other, more racist material has been removed.
Spending 10 minutes on social media looking at anything race-re- lated is enough time to prove racism is still alive in America. Events like the one at Starbucks give peo- ple a chance to come together and denounce an incident of racism, and instead hundreds, if not thou- sands of white social media users used the incident to denounce media coverage of racism.
To deal with the incident, Starbucks will be shutting down all of their stores on May 29 for racial bias training. People have already taken to social media to say they’ll no longer go to Starbucks because of the training. To them, I hope Starbucks says good riddance, and to them I ask that they also stay off social media because their racist commentary is slowing progres- sive movements by the media to address racism.