A Bitter Wake up Call

Two Black Men Arrested at Starbucks


People protesting outside a Starbucks location (courtesty of WBUR.com).

Ellie Coppock, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

On Thursday, April 12, two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks. The men explained that they were waiting for a friend, but soon after, an employee called the police. According to USA Today, the employee, who is believed to be the manager, told the police that the men refused to make a purchase or leave. According to the Chicago Tribune, the men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, had met at the same Philadelphia Starbucks many times before.

This incident would not have happened if the men were white. The actions taken by Nelson and Robinson were normal and harmless. The employee just viewed the men as dangerous because of the color of their skin. However, it is not enough to just realize that the employee was wrong. Action needed to be taken and the employee needed to be punished.

The incident has caused people to protest and boycott Starbucks. According to CNNthe Philadelphia Starbucks location was shut down after protests took place. The location was reopened shortly after. The participants in the protest called Starbucks “anti-black.” The CEO of Starbucks, Kevin Johnson, announced that racial-bias training would take place at 8,000 stores on Tuesday, May 29. The closing of these stores could cost the company millions of dollars. The employee that called the police no longer works at the Philadelphia location, but it is unclear whether they were fired or relocated.

While it is better to be optimistic, all of these things will not change the society we live in. Something like this will happen again. This issue is a lot bigger than Starbucks itself and bigger action needs to be taken in order to actually make a change. According to NBC News, Nelson and Robinson felt like their lives were in danger at the time of arrest. People should not feel this way if they are just waiting for a friend at Starbucks.