Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson announcing that “patrons of color” would be allowed to go to the head of the line at any of their coffee shops is a false meme. There is no truth to a meme being shared on Facebook that Starbucks followed up their racial training day with the controversial news that “patrons of color” were given permission to walk to the head of the line anytime at their coffee chains.
In debunking the meme, BizPacReview found the original Facebook post that started this controversy below.
The meme read:
“We are renewing Starbucks image as a place where all people feel welcome … Because we want to uplift others, we recognize our white privilege – Patrons of color will be allowed to move to the head of the line at all of our locations.” – Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson
However, there is no truth that Johnson issued that statement. There are no press releases by Starbucks. And, it is safe to say that Starbucks CEO would not being referring to African-Americans as “patrons of color.” Starbucks found itself in hot water after the controversial arrest of two black men at one of their locations in Philadelphia. As a result of that incident and protests, Starbucks announced that they would be closing their stores on May 29, 2018 to conduct racial-bias education as a way to address the incident.
BizPacReview blamed coffeehouse chain’s “‘progressive’ campaign to force left-wing dogma about ‘implicit bias’ down its employees’ throats” as one of the reasons that people fall for false memes like the one that Johnson was allowing African-Americans to skip to the head of the line. Other fake stories included “Starbucks Offering Coupons For African-American Customers Only For Free Coffee Is Fake Meme” and “Starbucks Execs Undergo Implicit Bias Training After Implying Its Employees Are Racist Is Satire.”
Despite the meme being false, it was shared by many on Facebook. Many also left comments on the original Facebook posting condemning the fake quote. Here are some reactions to the false meme on social media.
After they closed 8,000 stories for their racial sensitivity training, Starbucks issued the following response via their Twitter account. It had nothing to do with a “permanent cuts” line policy being instituted.
For several hours this afternoon, we will close stores and offices to discuss how to make Starbucks a place where all people feel welcome.
Thank you for your patience and support as we renew our promise to make Starbucks an inclusive gathering place for all.
See you tomorrow.
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) May 29, 2018
Time will tell whether Starbucks will have found success with their training. After analyzing three decades of data on 800 corporations and interviews with management, The Hill reported that two professors writing for Harvard Business Review concluded that companies are more successful at growing more diverse workforces and minimizing racially-charged episodes when they “ease up on the control tactics.”
What did you think of the false meme claiming that Johnson said that “patrons of color” can go to the head of the line at any of his coffee chains? Did you believe the false meme or see people sharing it falsely on social media? What did you think of Starbucks’ handling of the incident? Let us know in the comments section.
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Author: Shawn Rice