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Starbucks, ABC responses to racist incidents show business value of decisive action


Starbucks enlisted the help of groups like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Legal Defense and Education Fund (NAACP LDF) and Demos, a public policy organization committed to racial equality and economic advancement, to design a curriculum focused on recognizing bias and creating a more inclusive environment. [...]

“It’s about the bottom line of their business model,” said Heather McGhee, president of Demos, which gave its services pro bono. “It doesn’t work in America if a rising part of the population doesn’t feel welcome because of their skin color.” [...]

Demos’ McGhee says “the real meaning” of diversity “is not just leadership by people of color.”

“There’s this sense that diversity is replacing white men as though they don’t have a role to play in a better America,” she said. “That’s not realistic and that’s not right. We should have a society and leadership where everyone is at the table.”

Moreover, it doesn’t matter who does the right thing, as long as the right thing is done.

“Business sets a huge part of the national tone in this country,” said McGhee, who highlights that Starbucks’ response is unique.

“We’re in a moment when norms are being eroded every day. I would like to see more business leaders say Starbucks did the right thing,” she said. “That doesn’t mean they have to say, ‘We’re going to shut our stores today,’ but they can say it’s proper for a business to address racism.”