Starbucks closes U.S. stores for racial diversity training

- Turning away customers looking for an afternoon jolt of caffeine, Starbucks shops across the U.S. closed early to hold training for employees on recognizing hidden prejudices.

It was part of the coffee chain's effort to deal with the outcry over the arrest of two black men last month for sitting in a Philadelphia Starbucks without buying anything.

Starbucks closed roughly 8,000 shops country-wide.

NAACP President Reverend Wendell Anthony is praising the move, saying it's not just the right thing to do - it's good for business. Anthony referenced a new study from the Kellogg Foundation that found Michigan could see a $92 billion gain in economic output by 2050 if racial disparities in health, education, incarceration and employment are eliminated.

"Starbucks is setting a model which is worthy of emulation by others who want to participate and move their companies and business into the next level. All of us win. There are no losers in this kind of dialogue," he said. "It's about good business and it brings people together as opposed to tearing people apart. I believe it is a great start but it's not the ending.

It was part of the coffee chain's effort to deal with the outcry over the arrest of two black men last month for sitting in a Philadelphia Starbucks without buying anything.

After the incident, the company's leaders apologized, met with the men and scheduled an afternoon of training for 175,000 employees at more than 8,000 U.S. stores.

Self-described loyal Starbucks customer Darnell Metcalf, a 55-year-old black man from Miami, said he was dubious about how much a four-hour training session might accomplish for employees "raised to look at certain people a certain way and act a certain way."

And he said the problem is not confined to Starbucks but exists at plenty of other retail chains where he has seen people profiled.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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