The Guardian

Coffee shop racism: where America's racial divisions are exposed

Many say the Starbucks incident exposed discrimination that people of color and black people in particular face every day
The sign for a Starbucks Coffee shop is seen in Washington, DC, April 17, 2018, following the company's announcement that they will close more than 8,000 US stores on May 29 to conduct 'racial-bias education' following the arrest of two black men in one of its cafes. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB / Getty Images

When two black men were arrested in a Starbucks store in Philadelphia in April, it prompted a national debate. The coffee chain swiftly announced it would close 8,000 of its US stores on Tuesday 29 May, so staff can undergo racial bias training.

Many believe such incidents do not only happen at Starbucks. Businesses across the US, some say, are guilty of a behavior so commonplace it is starting to be given its own term: “coffee shop racism”.

Alfredo Weeks, an instructor at the Columbus College of Art and Design and co-owner of a graphic design studio, was moved to write about the phenomenon.

“I open the door to a coffee shop, and as soon as I

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