Starbucks anti-bias training is ‘Racism 101’ and will accomplish little, writer says
Andray Domise says training doesn’t go far enough, employees need to confront biases.
Anti-bias training being provided by Starbucks to its employees in Canada on Monday is really “Racism 101” and the global coffee giant should have looked at work done by community activists when it drew up its curriculum, says a Toronto writer.
Andray Domise, a contributing editor at Maclean’s Magazine, says the curriculum that Starbucks has published online is oriented toward feelings, not action, and will likely serve to create confusion instead of clarity.
Starbucks is closing about 1,100 Canadian locations on Monday afternoon for training on race, bias and inclusion.
Domise said he would like to say “it’s a start,” but noted that racism has had centuries to oppress people and the Starbucks anti-bias training will do little.
“My first reaction was: I hope this is not a joke. And when I had a look at their training materials and I found out it was going to be a one-day training, I thought: this absolutely is a joke,” Domise said.
“My opinion on that hasn’t changed at all.”
Anti-black racism advocates could have given precise direction to Starbucks, he added.
‘I don’t think we need proof that racism exists,’ Domise says
“What I saw was very a basic racism 101 conversation,” he said.
“It wasn’t an anti-racism training. It seemed to me like a training that teaches people: ‘Hey, racism exists.’ I don’t think we need any more proof that racism exists. I don’t think we need to sit down and have conversations explaining to people that this is a thing that happens. We know it happens.
“If you’re a black person and you walk around in black skin in North America, you know racism is a thing that exists.”
In a letter to customers, Starbucks Canada president Michael Conway said the training will involve sharing experiences, listening to experts, reflecting on the realities of bias in society and talking about how employees can create public spaces where everyone feels like they belong.