A couple updates to the story:Cafe shut down after protesters enter, chanting 'Starbucks coffee is anti-black!'
(CNN)Anger over two black men being perp-walked out of a Philadelphia Starbucks continued to simmer Monday, with protests that briefly shut the location down, a sit-in and critical comments from African-American leaders.
During the early demonstration that forced the store to close, protesters called the mammoth coffee chain "anti-black." The store reopened hours later.
As the protests heated up, the arrested men, who were not charged with a crime despite being detained, agreed to meet with Starbucks' CEO Kevin Johnson. And the Philadelphia police commissioner, who is under fire for defending his officers, said the policemen never wanted to arrest the men.
The men, who have not been identified, initially asked to use the restroom inside the Starbucks on Thursday but were told the cafe's bathrooms were for customers only. They then occupied a table without making a purchase, which many observers have noted is a common occurrence at the franchise's locations.
A manager called police after the men declined to leave the premises because, they said, they were waiting for an acquaintance.
That manager is no longer working at the store, Starbucks said, but it's unclear if she was terminated or relocated.
'We want to see action'
Philadelphia Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and other African-American leaders denounced the chain Monday afternoon in front of the Rittenhouse Square location, where the incident occurred.
Johnson said he met with the Starbucks CEO and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, but he was "not sold" on the actions Starbucks said it planned to take.
"To me it was all lip service," said Johnson, whose district includes the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood.
"We want to see action," the councilman said. "We want to see an actual plan to make sure that those individuals that come to and from Starbucks ... are respected, and they can go to the establishment without fear of being targeted because of their skin color."
He said he believes if the two men "didn't have sweatsuits on, they wouldn't have been targeted."
Johnson said city leaders are also demanding Starbucks engage in diversity and inclusion training and sensitivity training for all workers.
"We can't find a reason for them being approached by this except for their skin," said Minister Rodney Muhammad, president of the Philadelphia NAACP.
'This is a societal issue'
Soon after, faith leaders and others filed into the store for a sit-in led by Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild, a community group. The crowd sang gospel songs and chanted before leaving the store.
As they prepared to march, one man said: "Starbucks, you can't hide."
"We can see your dirty side," the crowd responded.
Starbucks' policies, guidelines and procedures will be reviewed by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, the mayor's office said. The city's Police Advisory Commission has also been asked to review all video of the incident and interview citizens and officers at the scene.
After meeting with Starbucks officials, including its CEO, Kenney said he believes the company will cooperate with the city's probes.
"This is not just a Starbucks issue. This is a societal issue," Kenney said in a statement." People can react differently to others based on skin color, and that is wrong. We have work to do, and we need to do so productively."
'If we can't get it, shut it down'
Hours earlier, a man also led protesters in call and response, in video captured by CNN affiliate KYW.
"Starbucks coffee is anti-black!"
"A whole lot of racism, a whole lot of crap!"
The next chant began, "Anti-blackness anywhere is anti-blackness everywhere!"
"What do we want?" the man asked.
"Liberation!" the protesters replied.
"When do we want it?"
The next chant -- "If we can't get it, shut it down" -- spoke to the demonstrators' demands. They are angry with Starbucks' apology and the company's promise to review its policies.
CEO calls arrests 'reprehensible'
They bristled particularly at the sentence, "Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested." Why then, posited the protesters -- as did their counterparts on social media -- did the manager call police in the first place? And why, in the video of the arrests that went viral last week, is the manager not seen intervening, despite several customers taking the arresting officers to task?
I wonder if apologizing rather than trying to explain only makes things worse.
Also, if you're going to have a rule, you better enforce it consistently, not let it slide for some and then enforce it on others.
Oh well, I shed no tears for the likes of Starbucks. They went out of their way to cultivate an image as a socially progressive company.
Anyone remember this corporate initiative from a few years ago?Starbucks' push to make baristas talk about race sounds like it could be disastrous
Starbucks has launched an initiative to encourage its employees and customers to have conversations about race.
CEO Howard Schultz has given baristas at 12,000 Starbucks locations the option to write the words "Race Together" on customers' cups and begin discussions about race relations.
The initiative is a partnership with USA Today. Full-page ads in the New York Times and USA Today this week have advertisements supporting the Race Together initiative, and USA Today will include an insert with materials on race designed to spark the desired discussions and a hashtag — #RaceTogether — to publicly share results. According to Starbucks, the plan will be further detailed during Starbucks' 2015 annual shareholders meeting in Seattle on Wednesday.
According to Starbucks, the Race Together initiative
is an outgrowth of the discussion forums the company held in response to the outcry over racially biased policing after Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner's in Staten Island, New York.
It appears to be a reflection of Schultz's sincere distress over the pain and hostility that often underlies national headlines and controversies related to race and racism. While there is no shortage of tweets making light of the potential pitfalls of the effort, it would be unfair not to note that Race Together is probably an honest attempt on his part to make America better.
That said, the initiative's undefined goals (encouraging people to talk generally about race without any measurable objective) and misguided tactics (setting people up to have complicated conversations without any direction or guidance) mean it's very unlikely to fix the racial bias that sparked it — and could even cause harm by distracting from substantive attempts to remedy racial inequality.
Talking about race isn't unusual
Race Together's premise seems to rest on the assumption that Americans don't like to talk about race, and that people buying and selling coffee can bravely take the lead in this area.
"We at Starbucks should be willing to talk about these issues in America," Schultz said.
They wanted to be the company that cares deeply about Black Lives Matter and would have conversations about race with their customers. Well, I guess they finally have their chance!!
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.