Guy W. Farmer: Do we need to be reeducated?

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal

I’m old enough to remember the infamous Lani Guinier Reeducation Camp, so I sympathize with Starbucks employees (excuse me, “partners”) who were subjected to a Reprogramming Day late last month. That special day was designed to teach them about “unconscious bias” and “conscious inclusion,” whatever that means.

Reprogramming Day was announced by Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson last month after police were called to remove two African-American men from a Philadelphia Starbucks on the assumption they were loitering. They weren’t loitering, however, but were merely waiting for a friend to discuss a business deal. Starbucks was embarrassed.

Johnson told his “partners” they would be reprogrammed and reeducated as “the first step in a journey (what else?) toward more enlightened racial attitudes.” Are you still with me? Apparently, that’s how business owners talk to their employees in the politically correct 21st century.

Andrew Ferguson of the Weekly Standard tried to understand and explain what was going on at Starbucks. Reprogramming Day was to be “presented as an act of contrition on the part of an artificial entity, a corporation, that by its very nature cannot feel contrition, or anything else,” Ferguson wrote. It was part of “an intimate and personal process staged by hired ‘diversity trainers’ for maximum publicity. And it was wreathed in unassailably uplifting politics to hide the creepy methods ... of the finest social science.”

One thing for sure: So-called diversity trainers are going to make a lot money off of Starbucks because CEO Johnson’s “journey” goes way beyond Programming Day. Perhaps that’s why you pay $5 for a cup of Starbucks coffee. Of course you don’t just drink coffee there; you have a “coffee experience” during which you gaze into your coffee cup and think Big Thoughts.

Personally, I only visit one Starbucks, the original store on the Seattle waterfront, where I order a simple “cup of coffee,” just like that. The baristas always pretend not to know what I mean even though I’m just an old guy ordering a cup of coffee, which isn’t a real coffee experience. They might understand me better if I ordered a skim milk Venti Double Chocolaty Chip Creme Frappuccino with extra shots.

Starbucks has hired an army of diversity trainers to reeducate its workforce. Johnson calls them “thought leaders” although they call themselves “racial justice leaders.” According to a statement from these alleged leaders, they’ve told Starbucks “the company must build a framework for anti-bias training ... that will consist of ongoing education for all employees with real measures for evaluation and monitoring.” So if you’re a Starbucks customer or partner, be on the lookout for Thought Police who will guarantee you can use the unisex bathroom even if you don’t buy anything.

“Only someone blissfully unfamiliar with corporate America will find Starbucks’ diversity extravaganza unusual,” Ferguson observed. “Diversity training was originally adopted as a hedge against discrimination lawsuits ... because a court judgment can be far costlier than hiring a diversity training company.” Ferguson recalled Texaco settled a discrimination suit for $176 million a few years ago and Coca Cola settled one for $192 million.

So in the final analysis, Starbucks executives and employees will be reeducated in order to understand something called “implicit (or unconscious) racism” and diversity trainers will get rich. No wonder Time magazine estimates the diversity industry raked in some $8 billion last year — nice work if you can get it.

Ferguson writes diversity trainers will usher Starbucks baristas into a world “unblemished by contact with reality” run by “untutored trainers instructing blameless subjects in bogus science.” Amen!

A confession: Guy W. Farmer sometimes drinks instant coffee. Shock! Horror!


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