Racism in Starbucks in Philadelphia


1. In a presentation, Professor Will Cox shows two news photos published in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. One shows a young black man walking through swirling water holding a carton of soda. The other shows a white couple in similar water, holding a bag of bread. The caption for the photos read, respectively: “A young man walks through chest-deep water after looting a grocery store” and “Two residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda.” Do you think the writers of these captions thought of themselves as racist?

2. Do you think the manager of the Starbucks in Philadelphia thought of herself as racist?

3. Do you think that what happened to Nelson and Robinson would have happened had they been white?

4. What stereotypes were invoked in this case and by whom?

5. How did stereotyping influence and/or frame the situation for the manager? For the police? For bystanders?

6. What is your opinion about Starbucks’ response to the arrest of Nelson and Robinson?

7. Will Starbucks’ training session on implicit bias have a beneficial impact?

8. Studies show that Latinos receive less pain medication than similarly-situated white patients, that elderly women receive fewer life-saving interventions than elderly men, and that obese children are more likely to be assumed by teachers to be less intelligent than slim children. Are these examples of implicit bias?

9. Can you think of examples of implicit bias?

10. Do you think that implicit bias is a serious problem? If so, is it more serious than explicit bias?

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