‘Natural hair’ and whether other races visit you at home: Here’s what Starbucks asked staff on its racial-bias training day

  • Starbucks shut 8,000 US stores on Tuesday for a racial-bias training day with its employees.
  • The coffee chain has published a booklet staff members were given, asking questions about their hair and how often friends of different races come to their home.
  • It also asked workers to say whether they found it easy or hard to talk about race.
  • Take a look at the full list questions below.

Starbucks closed 8,000 stores in the US for four hours on Tuesday afternoon to give its employees a racial-bias training day.

It came after two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks when they asked to use to the bathroom without having purchased drinks.

The training, which was provided to some 175,000 employees, included a “personal notebook” for employees to fill out. It encouraged them to become “color brave.”

After the training day, Starbucks published the notebook in full. It included questions for employees about their “natural hair” and how often friends of a different race had been in their home.

There were two rounds of questions. The first asked employees to recall the first time something happened to them. The booklet said a possible answer was that these things had never happened:

1. The first time you noticed your racial identity.

2. The first time you noticed how your race affected your beauty standards.

3. The first time you felt your accent impacted people’s perception of your intelligence or competence.

4. The first time you altered your communication style (dialed it up or down) to avoid playing into stereotypes.

5. The first time you had a friend of a different race who regularly visited your home.

6. The first time you felt distracted at work because of external events related to race.

7. The first time you had a senior role model in your organization with a similar racial identity as your own.

8. The first time you went to work with your natural hair without comments or questions from others.

9. The first time you felt your race affected your ability to build a rapport with your manager.

The second set of questions asked people to rank whether they would find various situations easy or hard to deal with. They were asked to put their answer on a 5-point scale, once for dealing with someone of their own race and once for somebody of a different race.

1. I can talk about race and not make the other person feel threatened.

2. I can comfortably maintain eye contact throughout the conversation and not fear I’m being aggressive.

3. I can talk about race and not make the other person feel threatened.

4. I can comfortably maintain eye contact throughout the conversation and not fear I’m being aggressive.

5. I can use my normal gestures and body language without feeling uncomfortable.

6. I can expect to be respected without having to prove my worth.

7. I can speak with my natural cadence without feeling judged about my intelligence.

8. I can respond to a difficult request directly and not fear my answer will be questioned.

9. I can share my accomplishments without someone assuming that I did not earn them myself.

10. I can talk about my childhood and not expect others to assume I grew up in poverty.

11. I can voice my dissatisfaction with a situation and not be told I’m “too angry.”

Take a look at the personal notebook on Starbucks’ website.