Baristas weigh in on Starbucks controversy, racial sensitivity training

Baristas weigh in on Starbucks controversy, racial sensitivity training

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The controversial arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks has prompted the coffee chain to close thousands of its stores for part of a day - so thousands of its employees can participate in racial sensitivity training.

It's a move that has some people questioning whether that is enough - or if it will be effective at all.

Few baristas love their job more than Alexandra Gwynn.

"I work here five days a week. People come in and sit down. To me, that's the coffee shop environment," said Gwynn.

Customers and employees of all backgrounds at Brewer's Cafe on Richmond's Southside are weighing in on the Philadelphia Starbucks controversy.

"How long is it going to be for? How long until they're racially sensitive?" said Bibi Muniz.

Mixed reaction brewing over that idea.

"I don't think it's your job's responsibility to train you to not be racist," said Gwynn. "I don't think that a few hours of training is going to remove all that learned behavior."

"It's good that they're making an effort," said Jessica Puckett. "Obviously, it's good that they have some response. I just don't know what the best response is."

Starbucks says the training will also be incorporated into its hiring process.

"I would really encourage them to look deeper and see how they could make that change outside of Starbucks," said Gwynn.

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