Starbucks’s I’m Sorry: Too many apologies, too little change

Randiesia Fletcher May 31, 2018

Starbucks highly encouraged it’s 175,000 employees to voluntarily take racial bias training. This training was Starbucks’ way of saying, I’m sorry. We’ll have to wait to see how sincere this apology is based on their actions.

And if training is proof of sincere apology—What’s American actress, Roseanne going to do?

We teach our children not to say I’m sorry unless they mean it—meaning don’t apologize unless you intend on changing.

Children tend to think that just saying these words fixes the problem, but it doesn’t. There is work or action that needs to follow.

Home training starts at home. And even if we yield to the thought that we did not learn such consciousnesses of social bias at home, we must concede to the notion that we are socialized by our environments. We live in a world socialized by paternalism, misogyny, bigotry, and hate.

We walk with blinders of pride, privilege, and prejudice. Our lips say one thing, but our actions detail our intrinsic selfishness that seeps a sense of false sincerity.

We are offended when we are called out on the legacy of our pasts—offended when we are called into jails for unjust circumstances.

We haphazardly tweet and speak and call the police. And then we say, I’m sorry.

Roseanne said, I’m sorry, for comparing a pan-African person, a human being to an ape, a known offensive racial slur that has encompassed our world for more than 400-years.

With training being the new form of, I’m sorry, I wonder if this 65-year-old woman will attend a training similar to Starbucks’ training, to curtail the 65-years of biases socialized in her psyche?

More critically, will she get a network job back, like former Fox News host, Bill O’Reilley who said, I’m sorry, for allegedly sexually harassing several women?

We really need to think about our apologies.

We all have biases. It’s the way in which we are programmed. I like blue cashmere sweaters over orange argon sweaters. I have a color and texture bias, but I don’t hate one over the other.

This is not oversimplifying the matter because we all bleed red blood regardless of our perceived race, gender or sex, ethnicity, financial status, or spiritual preferences.

In seeing the turmoil that we endure, I can only draw one conclusion: We must not understand our roles and responsibilities to each other. The responsibility of seeing past our superficial differences. The responsibility of service—attending to the needs of others. The responsibility of character—showing kindness and compassion to one another.

Does training ultimately fix our world’s problems? No, but it can be a starting point, like home training is a starting point. Next, it’s up to the individual to look introspectively and to recognize his or her character flaws and then make positive changes.

This method applies to any social infraction that we are currently dealing with either in the media or otherwise.

Dr. Martin King said, Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Maybe Starbucks’s expression of, I’m sorry, was sincere. It could also be a Chess move to ensure the likability of the restaurant to continue faithful patronage by its customers. Either way, we heard, I’m sorry, now let’s see their employees in action.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: May 31, 2018


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