Starbucks employees thought training videos were too disturbing

Two Philadelphia Starbucks workers have spoken out about this week's bias training and have revealed they were shown 'video after video' of black people being abused.  

Starbucks closed 8,000 stores across the country on Tuesday so that employees could go through the training, after the arrest of two black men at a branch in Philadelphia sparked outrage.

The two men were sitting in the cafe, where they planned to have a business meeting, when the manager called the cops on them because they hadn't ordered anything.  

Philly Magazine spoke to two employees after the event who were less than pleased with the six-hour training. 

The baristas - an 18-year-old black woman the outlet calls 'Tina', and 'Jamie', a 24-year-old Latino man - said they thought the training beat around the bush, failing to address the incident that prompted the event, while simultaneously making minorities in the room feel uncomfortable.   

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Two employees who went through Starbucks' bias training this week said they didn't like the videos they were showed depicting black people being abused by white people. Above, one part of the video where a white cop appeared to use excessive force on a black man 

Two employees who went through Starbucks' bias training this week said they didn't like the videos they were showed depicting black people being abused by white people. Above, one part of the video where a white cop appeared to use excessive force on a black man 

Some of the clips in the video showed blacks fighting for a right to sit in white areas of restaurants in the Jim Crow South during the Civil Rights era

Some of the clips in the video showed blacks fighting for a right to sit in white areas of restaurants in the Jim Crow South during the Civil Rights era

In this clip from the Civil War era, a black man is dragged on the ground by what appear to be white cops 

In this clip from the Civil War era, a black man is dragged on the ground by what appear to be white cops 

'It felt like we were off task the entire time because we didn’t reflect on the situation itself,' said Tina. 'The training materials focused a lot on police brutality, which had nothing to do with the incident that happened.'

Tina said they were showed videos that depicted black people being beaten by white cops that were 'really disturbing'. 

'I told them I didn’t like the video and they told me they understood and that I was open to give my opinion,' she said.  

Jamie said the videos made one girl in his session leave the room. 

'At one point, a girl at my table actually had to get up and leave because video after video they showed black people being assaulted by police or black people being verbally assaulted and white people being racially biased toward people of color. It offended her. She left after that,' he said. 

Jamie said that the session didn't even address the arrest that prompted the training. They only got close to discussing it when two black male employees brought it up, he said. 

Tina said she thought the training focused too much on the history of prejudice in America.  

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz closed 8,000 stores across the country on Tuesday for 'race training' with 175,000 employees following the scandal

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz closed 8,000 stores across the country on Tuesday for 'race training' with 175,000 employees following the scandal

'We got too deep into black history and got past what I thought was the point of the session,' Tina said.   

The baristas also pointed out that the session was led by three white women and a white man. 

Jamie added that he thought it was 'pandering' that the chain used the rapper Common in their training videos.  

'What does Common know about anything that we’re going through? What does he have to do with anything?' he said. 

They also didn't like how so much of the discussion was focused on how the minority employees felt about their ethnicity. 

'I feel like a lot of people of color were targeted [yesterday], and I know that wasn’t the whole objective of having that meeting,' said Tina. 'Every activity focused on people of color and how they feel about their race.'

'If your racial training is supposed to be inclusive, why aren’t you also talking about what white people face, since they’re part of the problem too.' Jamie said. 'As a Puerto Rican, it felt I was being made the center of attention for what seemed to be a PR stunt.'

While she doesn't think there will be immediate impact on her work life, Tina remains optimistic that the training will pay off in the long run. 

'We talked about how to make our stores better, and I feel like the rules are much clearer now,' she said. 'I’m so used to running to get a shift manager when I don’t want to have any trouble with customers. But now I feel like there will be less confusion.'

Following the training, Starbucks made all of the training materials available to the public.   

A 68-page guidebook revealed topics for the day included a history of discrimination in public spaces and what it meant to be 'color brave', a term coined by Starbucks board member Mellody Hobson.

A 68-page guidebook released by Starbucks revealed what staff discussed during a 'racial training day' on Tuesday, just weeks after one manager called the police on two black men

A 68-page guidebook released by Starbucks revealed what staff discussed during a 'racial training day' on Tuesday, just weeks after one manager called the police on two black men

Objectives for the day (pictured) included understanding bias and 'making every customer feel like they belong'  

Objectives for the day (pictured) included understanding bias and 'making every customer feel like they belong'  

In a video that was played at the start of each session, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson explained why it was important to be 'color brave' instead of 'color blind'. 

'Growing up, there was a term called "color blind", which described a learning behavior of pretending not to notice race - that doesn't even make sense,' Johnson said. 

'So today we are starting a new journey, talking about race directly - what my friend and Starbucks board member Mellody Hobson calls being "color brave"'. 

'Becoming color brave' was listed in Starbucks' agenda, as was 'seeing difference as a positive' and 'reflecting on what belonging feels like'. 

'We want to uplift others, we exist to inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup, one neighborhood at a time,' Starbucks said in a new mission statement. 

Staff watched a number of videos featuring talks from Schultz, Johnson as well as rapper Common and Starbucks EVP Rossann Williams among others.

They were also asked to watch the a video by filmmaker Stanley Nelson about the history of access to public spaces for African Americans. 

Staff also listened to a slew of scenarios about real customers and asked if they would have done anything different in the situation. 

Topics for the day included a history of discrimination in public spaces and what it meant to be 'color brave', a term coined by Starbucks board member Mellody Hobson

Topics for the day included a history of discrimination in public spaces and what it meant to be 'color brave', a term coined by Starbucks board member Mellody Hobson

Staff watched a number of videos featuring talks from Schultz, Johnson as well as rapper Common (pictured) and Starbucks EVP Rossann Williams among others 

Staff watched a number of videos featuring talks from Schultz, Johnson as well as rapper Common (pictured) and Starbucks EVP Rossann Williams among others 

Howard Schultz, the company's founder and chairman, also appeared in videos during the day

Howard Schultz, the company's founder and chairman, also appeared in videos during the day

Scenarios included a woman in dirty sweatpants lingering near the retail cups, a woman with a dirty cup asking for a refill, confusion about a customer's gender, and dealing with a customer with a thick accent. 

At one point during the training, Williams gave an example of how the company now wanted

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