Starbucks announced yesterday that it’s closing all 8,000 of its company-owned stores on May 29 to educate employees on racial bias. The announcement came after two black men — who were waiting for a friend in a Philadelphia Starbucks — were accused of trespassing and ultimately arrested and held for hours. And that incident is not the only one of its kind. In Rochester Hills, Michigan last week, a black 14-year old was shot at when he knocked on a door to ask for directions after he missed his bus. And here in Massachusetts, the Cambridge Police are taking heat for punching a black Harvard student they said was on drugs and acting aggressively, although some bystanders say the officers clearly overreacted.
In The Boston Globe, columnist Renee Graham declared the incidents were all part of the problem of "white fear," writing, “to be black is to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time because, in America, there is never a right place for black people.”
Jim Braude was joined by Tina Opie, assistant professor of management at Babson College; Reverend Irene Monroe, a syndicated religion columnist and WGBH contributor; and former president of the Boston NAACP Michael Curry, the current chair of the national NAACP Advocacy and Policy Committee, to discuss.