So, Starbucks is now the target of a Leftist-led boycott.
That’s not particularly surprising — the Left has a long record of eating its own. And Starbucks has long courted liberals across the country with its overt commitment to left-wing causes, including having baristas talk to customers about race. But now, Starbucks has fallen afoul of the social justice crowd after an incident at a Philadelphia Starbucks in which the manager of the establishment called the police on two black men who claimed they were merely waiting around for a friend, and were refused use of the restroom. According to CNN:
On Thursday, two men entered the Starbucks and asked to use to the bathroom. An employee told them it was only for paying customers. When they then sat in the store without ordering anything, the manager called the police, and the men were arrested for trespassing. No charges were filed.
The CEO of Starbucks, Kevin Johnson, has apologized, said that the incident was “reprehensible,” and met with the two men. He stated, “I’d like to have a dialogue with them so that I can ensure that we have opportunity to really understand the situation and show some compassion and empathy for the experience they went through.”
Now, here’s the problem: we actually don’t know the experience they went through. The video only shows the two black men being arrested, but doesn’t show anything happening in the lead-up to the arrest. The 911 calls show that the manager called the police after the two men refused to leave the store. To believe that the store manager was a racist, we’d have to believe that a Starbucks in Philadelphia — a city that is 42% black — was secretly harboring racial animus, and it burst forth in a request for arrest.
Here’s a more plausible story: the store manager’s. According to the manager, she has managed the location at 18th and Spruce Street “for a year.” She has encountered many people “who loiter in the café with no intentions of purchasing; at least one of those persons, she claims, chased her around the store after she asked them to leave.” Corporate policy prohibits loitering. Melissa DePino, the witness, says, “Yes, the two men were asked to leave @Starbucks, as the Philly police said in their statement, but they sat there peacefully and had the nerve to ask WHY they were being asked to leave.” According to Richard Ross, the black chief of police in Philadelphia:
According to employees, they had seen these two males come in, they sat down, and after being seated, they decided that they needed to use the restroom. Starbucks says that according to their company policy, they do not allow non-paying members of the public to come in and use the restroom. They then asked these two males to leave. These two males refuse to leave. … When the police were summoned to the scene they get there and they get this story. … They then approach the males, they ask the males to leave because they’re being asked to leave by Starbucks employees, in fact in an effort to quell the situation, the officers actually called for a supervisor. …Three different occasions, the officers asked the males politely to leave the location. … Instead, the males continued to refuse, as they had told the employees previously, and they told the officers that they were not leaving. When the call was initially made, the Starbucks employees had told the males that they were going to call police, and they said, “Go ahead call the police, we don’t care.” So police get there and they’re confronted by the same kind of attitude, and they’re repeatedly told they’re not leaving.
Meanwhile, in Torrance, California, a conveniently timed video has also been making the rounds from a Starbucks. Torrance is 35% Asian and 16% Hispanic. In that video, a black man videos a white man coming out of the restroom, and the white man explains that he was allowed to use the restroom before buying anything. The black man then demands an explanation from the manager of the coffeehouse, who appears to be an Asian female. She begins to explain, but isn’t allowed to by the man filming; she then demands that he leave the store. We have no idea what preceded the tape. We don’t know if the man filming came in and demanded to use the bathroom while saying affirmatively that he wouldn’t buy anything; we don’t know if he harassed the manager; we don’t know anything. But that hasn’t stopped everyone from assuming that the manager must be a brutal racist intent on making black patrons pee their pants.
So, is Starbucks replete with racists? The indicators aren’t exactly pointing to “yes.” But the entire company will take the day off for implicit bias training, which is perhaps the most useless form of anti-racism training ever devised.
Before we jump to conclusions, it’s necessary to check the facts. The facts in these cases aren’t totally clear. At the very least, we should see the store tape — presumably Starbucks has video from inside its establishments. But the public and the media won’t wait for those tapes. Instead, they’ll simply suggest that widespread racism is to blame for any and all incidents, no matter how thin the evidence.