Starbucks case highlights need to continue fight against discrimination

Apr 21,2018 – JORDAN TIMES –

The case of the two “black Americans” who were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks coffee shop on April 12 caught my attention for two basic reasons: One is the reference to “unconscious bias” as the reason why the coffee shop called the police who handcuffed the two persons and escorted them out of the shop.

Unconscious bias is a new way of looking at discrimination on the basis of deep rooted and perhaps at the subconscious level that lingers on in people’s attitudes and perceptions towards others be that on the basis of race, colour, religion, ethnicity or whatever.

This form of discrimination is almost impossible to combat, much less defeat, as people no matter how much one tries are discriminating by nature and  develop certain  stereotype images of others on a variety of grounds.

It is impossible to brainwash people to remove all traces of discrimination and the most that can be done is to contain and combat it. Eradication of all aspects of discrimination is impossible.

   The Starbucks incident invites other issues for consideration on the top of which are the issues of fact. What really happened is critical to the final determination of the complaint. Coffee shops , restaurants and the likes are open to “sell” their products and the space they have is intended for people who want to “buy” their products. The use of their space for socialising with others or waiting to meet other friends is not on the agenda of such shops.

These places maintain toilets for their customers and not for the public. They are kept in the best of conditions for this purpose. No one can blame them for that! 

Assuming that the two gentlemen in question were white, no one would have made a complaint. In other words, it is all good and fine if the two persons belonged to another race, as no one would have noticed  or made an issue of it.

In other words, the case of the complaint must rest on the proposition that the two men were asked to leave or refused access to the shop’s toilet is because of their colour. This has to be established before the case of discrimination and mistreatment because of race can be established one way or the other.

Starbucks employs people of all races and serves peoples of all colours and backgrounds. It is a hard sell to collude that Starbucks was guilty of criminal discrimination when they called the police to have the two men escorted out of the shop.

Had Starbucks been a discriminatory enterprise, it would not have  hired any “black” or Latino or whatever person, much less refuse its services to them.

Other issues come to the fore. If there was an error done on that occasion, it was perpetrated by the police who handcuffed the two men and whisked them out of the shop.

Starbucks only complained to the police by dialing 911. It was the judgement of the police that led to the detention of the two persons.

One last point. Why keep on dividing “Americans” as either black Americans or white Americans or Latino  Americans or Arab Americans or  Jewish Americans. This sounds and looks wrong.

Americans are Americans no matter what their colour or religion or ethnicity is. Calling the two persons involved in the Starbucks case as “black Americans” is totally wrong.

They are Americans pure and simple and not black American or green Americans or red Americans, etc, etc. This would only perpetuate the “subconscious bias” that has become part and parcel of the American culture.


Leave a Reply