Starbucks is a proudly progressive company. 90% of Starbucks’ political donations go to Democrats, according to opensecrets.org. A few years ago, the coffee giant urged its employees to start conversations about race with customers until they realized customers just wanted, you know, coffee. More recently, Starbucks has committed to hiring 10,000 refugees by 2022.
None of that prevented Starbucks from being lambasted as racist and boycotted for a single incident before all the facts were even known.
Here’s what we do know: Last Thursday, two black men were waiting for a friend in a Philadelphia Starbucks and had not ordered anything when one of them asked to use the restroom. He was told restrooms are for paying customers and was eventually asked to leave the store. When they refused, the manager called the police. When the police told the men three times that they were trespassing and had to leave, they still refused. The video recording that made its way through social media began as the men were being arrested for trespassing. The friend they were waiting for showed up while they were being arrested. They were not charged with a crime.
From those facts, do we have enough information to conclude the manager was racist? No.
Maybe she is racist. But just as likely, someone who would thrice refuse instructions from police to leave was similarly disrespectful and rude towards the manager. According to the manager, that particular Starbucks has a problem with loiters and instituted a policy to call the police after one chased her around the store when she asked him to leave.
Maybe when she asked these men to leave they were rude and, remembering pass experiences, she decided to call the police like she would regardless of their skin color. Or maybe she’s an unreformed racist. We just don’t know.
What we do know, is that before the facts were in, activists immediately called for a boycott not just of the particular Starbucks where the incident occurred (and where the manager no longer works), but of the entire corporation who’s executives have gone out of their way to promote liberal racial causes.
We don’t know everything about what happened in that Philadelphia Starbucks last Thursday, but we do know there are people who see racism behind every negative outcome and will lash out at whatever target is available, regardless of their history.
Why does this matter (aside from the lives that are needlessly ruined due to false accusations)? If the entire Starbucks corporation can be declared racist and boycotted before the facts are known and despite doing pretty much everything liberal activists could want, why should anyone trust them to call out genuine racism?
Conservatives can sometimes be too quick to dismiss real instances of racism, but it is partly because of cases like this. Racism still exists and remains a stain on America’s honor, but if we are to improve we will need both sides to calm down and not predetermine the cause of any negative outcome to befall a minority.