For a place that sells coffee, Starbucks gets a lot of press. And you thought "America runs on Dunkin'."
Starbucks is a signpost of civilization. It's a weird green lady who says, "Give us your yuppies, your hipsters, your upwardly mobile, caffeine-addicted masses."
Who knew that non-fat, half caf, no whip, iced frappuccino could be so controversial?
Starbucks is not only a microcosm of life in urban America, it occasionally falls into the breach that is America's racial divide.
In 2013 the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by allowing states to change their election laws without advance federal approval.
At the core of the the court's 5-4 decision was whether or not racial minorities still face barriers to voting in states with a history of discrimination.
Five right wing Supreme Court judges opined that racial discrimination in America is a thing of the past.
Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said, Our country has changed. While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.
The Supreme Court's recent support of gerrymandering demonstrates their tacit support of voter suppression.
Which brings us back to Starbucks, where a centuries old struggle is being played out against a back drop of four dollar coffee and chocolate croissants.
Just because you can walk into a Starbucks and order black coffee, doesn't mean you can walk in and order blacks out.
In April of 2018, two black men were arrested for hanging out at a Starbucks in Philadelphia. Isn't hanging out at Starbucks one of the perks of a big city?
On July 4th this year, six members of the Tempe, AZ police department were asked to leave a Starbucks because of the discomfort they were causing patrons.
Whether the cops were actually causing anyone discomfort or this was a retaliatory stunt is irrelevant. Clearly, we have reached a tipping point in racial disparity.
Black men waiting for a friend in a Starbucks should be treated the same as white men doing likewise, even if it's only tepid toleration underlying that treatment.
My white face has been tepidly tolerated on many occasions.
Cops, like them or not, should never be asked to leave an establishment for any reason. Theirs is not an easy job.
It's hard to say which is worse, the possibility that police make people feel unsafe or that we're willing to make scapegoats of all cops in retaliation for the acts of just a few.
In June of this year the Supreme Court ruled that a bakery could deny service at their discretion. In this case, the bakery was freed to refuse service to gay couples.
One could argue that the same applies to Starbucks, that they have the right to choose whom they serve. One day, they may choose to refuse service to Asian teenagers in short skirts and pig tails.
Is this the road that America wants to go down?
Anyone who says that America has reached post-racial maturity is either lying or stupid. Maybe both.
Your eyes may glaze over when you hear about the Supreme Court doing this, that or the other thing. It tends to be very dry.
Supreme Court decisions have real world consequences, though, and often in unexpected ways. Supreme Court decisions are the only area of government action that actually trickle down. Many of them seep into our lives without fanfare.
Stealing a Supreme Court nomination matters. Putting a right wing, Bible thumping rapist on the Supreme Court matters. Who gets to fill the next Supreme Court vacancy matters.
Elections have consequences. The next one may determine who gets to order that non-fat, half caf, no whip, iced frappuccino.
Starbucks has become a reflection of America. The question is, Does America like what it sees?
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