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Justice

Suspiciously Black in Starbucks

Starbucks doesn't need to close its stores for bias trainings. It needs to change its entire design so that it doesn’t merely reflect the character of host neighborhoods, especially if that character is racist.
A plain-clothed police officer mans a position behind the counter at the Starbucks that has become the center of protests in Philadelphia.
A plain-clothed police officer mans a position behind the counter at the Starbucks that has become the center of protests in Philadelphia.Jacqueline Larma/AP

Over the weekend, a video circulated on the Internet of police handcuffing and removing two black men from a Starbucks in Philadelphia last Thursday, April 12. The incident is illustrative of what pains many African Americans about the threats of gentrification: The men were reportedly charged with trespassing, and for a neighborhood like Philly’s Rittenhouse Square, where the trespassed Starbucks is located, that may have been true in the eyes of a cafe manager trying to interpret the motives of two black people sitting in the establishment without ordering something.

On VisitPhilly.com, Rittenhouse Square is promoted as “the heart of Center City’s most expensive and exclusive neighborhood.”