Racial bias training introduced to companies


Elizabeth Hanson

Starbucks is one of many companies that are implementing diversity training into their company standards.

Story by Sarah Day, News Editor

Starbucks held its racial bias training on May 29 in hopes of broadening its employees’ understanding and respect of people unlike themselves. The company plans to continue yearly training.

Following a small group model, three to five people watched videos together and discussed their reactions, wrote privately in response to racial bias prompts and practiced behaviors that would make customers feel more comfortable. Staff held mixed views about the afternoon.

Other corporations are beginning to implement diversity training into their own company standards. However, depending upon the situation, this addition may be more for the benefit of the organization’s image than the goal of educating its workers.

Papa John’s recently announced that it will be requiring all employees to take part in diversity training in response to John Schnatter’s use of a racial slur. Roughly 20 percent of its stores will begin this program in October. Currently, there are no plans for when the rest of the brand will receive training.

Steve Ritchie will take over as CEO in January, and Schnatter has been removed from the company’s marketing materials following his resignation from the company.

Ritchie wrote that Papa John’s believes in “equity, fairness, respect and opportunity.” Papa John’s also thanked its customers for the anger they received in response to Schnatter’s actions, suggesting that acknowledging the problem is an important first step in change.

The time spent learning about and recognizing the biases people have is worthwhile. Unconscious prejudices and hidden stereotypes influence even the smallest of everyday decisions.

However, systemic racism cannot be battled in a short period of training time. These practices are things citizens need to implement on a regular basis in order to broaden national equality between different ethnicities, races and genders. Diversity training should become a mandatory part of work culture. In order to see social change on a larger scale, it must first begin with recognizing injustices through understanding diversity.