When I think of Starbucks, I think of fair trade and “ethnically sourced” secured coffee beans, wonderfully laid out desserts and treats that my waist line dislikes, and cool stripped down funky folky alternative music playing in the background while I drink a hot delicacy I can barely pronounce. I think of people conversing, while others around them are seeping the juices of the Internet to fuel their apple laptop latest reality game apps. I think of people completing school or professional work away from their homes and offices. Starbucks has the ability in a sense to serve as an escape. But as a person of color, especially a historically marginalized people, there is no quarter given. Two Black men in Philadelphia discussing possible business ventures in a Starbuck were reminded that within the 21st century two separate worlds for Blacks and everyone else continues to exist within our world. The denial of bathroom rights to potential paying customers, an automatic response to call the police, and consequential police engagement and arrest without legitimate legal cause are representations of 21st racism. A similar incident has recently surfaced on video caught in a Los Angles area store where onlookers observed white non-paying patrons getting access to the bathroom while Blacks were denied. These discussed incidences are the simple echoes of a system of oppression that has existed for Blacks since the first Dutch flagged slave ship arrived in Jamestown in 1619.
Terence Fitzgerald Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work
Clinical Associate Professor focused on policy, family and children, social inequality, and institutional racism.