NAACP Statement on Starbucks: A growing climate of racism and intolerance
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the nation’s premier civil rights organization, issued the following statement following the disgraceful arrest of two African American men in a Philadelphia Starbucks.
“The arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks represents another ominous signal on the increasingly dangerous environment for African Americans. Less than two weeks after we honor the life and work of Dr. King and 50 years after the Ker ner Commission found racism and police brutality at the root of public unrest in our communities; we still have a long way to go towards becoming a nation where a person is judged by the content of their character not the color of their skin.
“The Starbucks situation provides dangerous insight regarding the f ailure of our nation to take implicit bias seriously. We refuse to believe that our unconscious bias –the racism we are often unaware of—can and does make its way into our actions and policies.
“We know if two black men in Philadelphia require six police officers to handcuff and arrest them for waiting to order coffee, then we begin to understand the mindstate that allows for such overzealous and reactionary use of deadly force by those who are paid to serve and protect.
“Every day people of color find themselves at the mercy of the stereotypes and embedded fears of others. How else can we explain why 14-year-old Brennan Walker who missed his bus on his way to school would be shot at by a homeowner just outside Detroit? Or explain Saheed Vassell, a mentally-ill man in Brooklyn fired at ten times and shot dead by police officers. Or why Stephon Clark was shot at 20 times and hit eight times mainly in the back by police officers in Sacramento, based on the assumption that he was the culprit responsible for breaking into cars. We are at least glad in the case of Starbucks that no one mistook a wallet for a gun.”
“All too often these issues are discussed in passing episodic ways by media. Racism and biases that make simply breathing while black so dangerous will not just go away without our society committing more resources to discussion, education and training on implicit bias and racism. If we refuse to, we’ll continue to face the consequences of our failure to do so.”
You too, Starbucks? Once considered a ‘safe’ territory, this past week set off a round of outrage and calls for economic boycotts against the business. Why? Two black men were arrested for not obeying the police who were called for a loitering complaint at a Starbucks store. Loitering in Starbucks? No such thing can possibly happen since the company itself issues an open invitation to the public to do just that. It’s part of their cultural profile: to have the public come in to join the larger community of others gathered in the store; to stay for as long as you like.
But this is a racist America where too many folks continue to feel entitled to mistreat another person because of their ‘otherness’seeming, those who are just not white enough.
Remember the ad campaign: “Do blonds have more fun?” It may not be PC today, but we have not gotten very far away from that notion, and the promotions in support of that concept.
Perhaps a bit subtler, but what continues to happen in America with many descendants of the European founding fathers, is reinforcements of their belief of superiority and entitlement.
There are some in the media, and other places of thought-exchange, who have suggested that the rise of “Trumpism”: a new religious zeal for everything becoming ‘whiter-greater, again, is to blame. That’s too easy. Besides, I don’t want to give ‘45’ any additional power.
Yet, there is something to be said about the lingering, barely beneath the surface, of racism, and the sick, mind disease of thinking that anyone is less than you; or that you Contact Us 954.356.9360 • 2701 W Oakland Park Blvd, Suite 320 • Oakland Park, FL 33311 • www.SFLTimes.com