Starbucks conceited effort to reform its employees by introducing anti-bias training is an empty plea for forgiveness. The dilemma for many in this country or the ignored truth is deciphering between racism and discrimination. Racism isn’t a matter of “I don’t like you because you’re Black.” It’s a system that says “I will oppress you because you’re Black.” Therefore, the structure of racism has to be dismantled from the top, not the bottom.
This ploy to save face is a tactic practiced by a great deal of corporations — it’s a matter of staying in business — not resolving racism. Starbucks has just added itself to a long list of corporations that have publicly berated Black people who were doing nothing wrong. And though some corporations may not have gone as far as to closed down there businesses for four days, they all issue the same lame excuse — “It was not our intent to offend anyone… we missed the mark… we love black people.”
Anti-bias training is not the answer. If it was that simple, racism would have been dispelled decades ago and white corporations wouldn’t still be making “mistakes.” Some people may commend Starbucks for making the news, but how can we measure whether a corporation truly means what it says regarding racism against African-Americans? The African-American presence in corporate America is still bleak, positions of power are occupied by white men, as we continue to be the target demographic for exploitation. Even while trying to do a good deed, Starbucks still used propaganda to promote the event. The anti-bias training commercial which included the rapper Common was just another marketing scheme.
White America is well aware of the tribulations that African-Americans face and that discrimination against any group of people is wrong, but rather than honor morality, the idea of not being on the bottom feels a lot better — and being in power — even better.
Racism goes way beyond individual corporations taking accountability for individual acts of prejudice. This has been done numerous times before. Relinquishing power, defying white supremacy, or perhaps in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” will one day resonate in the hearts and minds of everyone and racism will be a thing of the past. Until then African-Americans will continue to be victims of racism and white supremacy will parade on until its demise.