Starbucks is undergoing its racial sensitivity training, closing down over 8,000 stores in the United States due to some racially-charged controversy surrounding the brand after two black men were arrested in one Starbucks location. This is believed by many to be an empty platitude and a public relations move on the part of the corporation, as an isolated incident in one of their thousands of locations is not indicative of a systemic issue, not to mention racial sensitivity training has never shown to have measurable results on people’s behaviours.
The move is being called out by many, including Martin Luther King’s niece, Alveda King, who claimed the company’s actions against racial discrimination are misguided in an OP-ED titled “If Starbucks wants to end racism, it’ll stop funding Planned Parenthood.” Martin Luther King was an activist who fought for real equality between all people regardless of race and would be ashamed to see current black activists’ brand of identity-politics activism. His niece, much the same way her uncle saw things, doesn’t adhere to identity politics and instead attacks what is actually disproportionately affecting black people.
Alveda points out that Planned Parenthood, the United States’ largest abortion provider, disproportionally targets minority communities often times taking on a culture of “abortion-first” when consulting with women about their unwanted pregnancy. Starbucks donates substantial amounts of money to Planned Parenthood, though the exact amount is undisclosed, and Alveda can see the contradiction in their actions because of it. Alveda points out that a company-wide effort to make black people’s lives better cannot co-exist while funding an organization who has large business interests in taking advantage of minority communities.
Deputy Editor, The Unshackled
Host of the Front and Center Podcast