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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Clarity on Policy vs. Unearned Guilt

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Writing about Starbucks's recent, highly publicized diversity training in the wake of its 911 call debacle in Philadelphia, Patrice Onwuka of the Independent Women's Forum argues that the training will do nothing to improve how its employees will handle similar situations in the future. Among other things, she notes that:

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Such training has also led to the unintended consequences of activating biases about others. Participants have reported leaving training confused, angry, or feeling more animosity toward differences and other groups. When groups of people such as managers are targeted for added training, they resist the message because they feel singled out as culprits for something they may not have done. [bold added]
This is true, even if the "message" is (undistorted by multiculturalism) to be simply that we should be aware that our background and experience might get in the way of practicing an etiquette founded on benevolence towards other human beings viewed as individuals. That said, I agree with the closing:
Rather than anti-bias training, Starbucks should formulate a clear policy that demands all guests be treated equally and ensures that its employees act consistently.
Yes. It is presumptuous of an employer to imply that it needs to "fix" its employees; but it is well within an employer's rights to say, "This is how we expect our employees to treat customers and potential customers." The employer does not know what is inside the minds of its employees any more than its clientele. But it can let them know its expectations and potential stumbling blocks to meeting them. This would both (1) make it easier to remove problem employees and (2) help employees who might need further training become interested in seeking it out for reasons that would be their own.

-- CAV

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