Starbucks & Roseanne: America’s Moment of Reckoning Playing Out on Twitter
When Roseanne Barr sparks a storm over a racist tweet just as Starbucks closes 8,000 stores for a massive anti-bias training, you know that America is going through moments of reckoning with regard to its racism problem.
Starbucks’ executive chairman, Howard Schultz, believes “we are living in a time in America where there is a fracturing of humanity.” But in my view, the fracturing was there before and this time is unique in that we can see things a lot clearer and move forward a lot faster.
Today’s interconnected world made it clear to Starbucks that they need to make a serious move if they wish to maintain good business, just as it made ABC move quickly to cancel Roseanne’s hit TV show.
American society, however, can use this unique point in time to make some clear moves towards a more united future.
First of all, we should not take for granted that people who give service will be objective towards their customers. It takes an educational process and ongoing practice, and it shouldn’t take a crisis to get there. All people who work in customer service should go through a basic training session or series of sessions, where they learn how to relate equally to all customers, with no regard whatsoever to how they look or where they’re from.
Companies and public services should be required by law to qualify their employees before they put them on the job. If America truly wants to wipe out all remnants of racial segregation, this training should be mandatory for organizations in order to keep their license to operate.
Now, while regulations may work for customer service situations, when it comes to our attitudes to each other as a society, there is a gradual psychological process that needs to take place. We have to go beyond slogans and moral preaching and develop an actual sense of our common humanity.
Let’s face it. The racial divide will not go away by itself. We have to work on it as a society. We also have to realize that people are products of how they were educated, their childhood influences and what they’ve been through in life. For some people it’s easier to overlook differences and for others it is not.
The solution is that above all differences, we continuously work on achieving a higher level of social unity through activating our natural wiring to connect as human beings at every possible opportunity.
For instance, what would happen if the U.S. as a whole would practice something similar to what Starbucks just did? How about a basic training for solidarity and human connection that would be introduced at all schools, workplaces, federal agencies and so forth?
From a global perspective, society is only beginning to scratch the surface of our true nature and there is nothing to be ashamed of because we were all designed the same way. We need to put all this out on the table and understand how to work with it.
Interestingly, I said it all in a tweet just about a month ago — a tweet liked by Roseanne Barr.