Lorne Green, a black businessman, walked into a coffee shop in Brandon, Florida and used the restroom before heading to the counter to purchase something. However, the coffee shop employees seemed to view his very presence as a threat. Jasmine Rand, the lawyer representing Green, says of the incident:
“Almost as soon as he entered the door, he heard somebody say, ‘There’s a big black guy headed to the restroom. A few minutes later, this incessant knocking starts, knocking on the door, over and over again, ‘Do you need Fire Rescue? Do you need Fire Rescue?’”
Mr. Green called Starbucks’ corporate number and was on the phone with a representative for nearly half an hour from inside the restroom due to the knocking. The call was recorded by both Starbucks and the alleged victim of the racial harassment.
The Starbucks employee on the corporate line said:
“So you feel like this is racially motivated, correct?”
Mr. Green confirmed this suspicion, saying:
“It is very because I walked in and she immediately — in not even five minutes — she goes, ‘a black male went inside,’ and called the police on me before I even got in the bathroom.”
Mr. Green also recounted that an employee in the Brandon shop referred to him as “the big black guy.”
This comes after Starbucks closed many stores after a similar incident in a Philadelphia location so that they could provide their employees with sensitivity and racial bias training.
If Mr. Green’s account of this incident is correct, Starbucks still has a lot of work to do to keep their employees from using police forces as the black people removal service.
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Shannon Barber is a progressive queer feminist and budding political scientist. She is passionate about issues of social justice, including but not limited to racial equality, criminal justice reform, pro-Black politics, and LGBTQ equality. She hopes to change the world, one mind at a time.