After an outcry over the inclusion of the Anti-Defamation League as a lead member of Starbuck’s anti-racism training, the ubiquitous coffee shop backed down, as Marjorie Cohn reports for Consortium News.
By Marjorie Cohn Special to Consortium News
After a video of the arrest of two African-American men sitting in Starbucks without buying anything went viral, Starbucks scheduled anti-racism training. But their inclusion of the Anti-Defamation League in the training provoked another outcry and Starbucks capitulated.
On April 12, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were arrested for trespassing at a Philadelphia Starbucks. A manager called the police because the men, who had been in the coffee shop for just a few minutes, hadn’t bought anything.
Melissa DePino, a Starbucks customer who recorded the video of the arrest that went viral on social media, said, “These guys never raised their voices. They never did anything remotely aggressive . . . I was sitting close to where they were. Very close. They were not doing anything. They weren’t.”
In an attempt to avert a public relations disaster after the racist incident became public, Starbucks announced it would close most of its 8,000 locations on May 29 for racial bias training.
But, adding insult to injury, Starbucks included the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), with its notorious history of racism, as a primary participant in the anti-racism training.
Community outrage at ADL’s central role in the training was swift and strong. Starbucks demoted ADLto a consulting role, and named representatives of three prominent African-American-led civil rights organizations to lead the training.
ADL: “Anti-Muslim, Anti-Palestinian, Anti-Black and Anti-Activist”
After Starbucks had initially announced the composition of its anti-racism trainers, there was a powerful backlash in the civil rights community against ADL’s leadership role.
Tamika Mallory, co-chair of the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter, called for a boycott of Starbucks. Mallory, a nationally prominent organizer for gun control and women’s rights, and against police violence, is the 2018 recipient of…