Taking Stock of the Public Response to the Starbucks Arrests

Posted by Cameron McAllister, Nathan Rittenhouse on April 26, 2018
Topic: Cultural Commentary

Most of us have heard about the recent arrests of Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson at a Philadelphia Starbucks. According to news sources, the two 23-year-old black men had come for a business meeting with a friend, but events took a turn for the worse after the manager refused to allow them to use the facilities without making a purchase. The two men resigned themselves to the store’s apparent policy and simply decided to wait for their friend. After asking them to leave, the manager then called the police, maintaining that the men refused to leave the store.

Controversy swelled after a customer uploaded a video of the two men being led away in cuffs by the police. Meanwhile, their awaited friend and business partner enters the scene repeatedly asking, “What did they do?” The video received millions of views, sparked protests, and began a national conversation about the role of unconscious bias and the changing face of racism in U.S. culture. In this episode, Nathan and Cameron join that conversation, focusing on the nature of the public response to this incident, and what it says about our cultural moment.

Follow the Thinking Out Loud hosts on Twitter:
Cameron McAllister - @CamMcAllister7
Nathan Rittenhouse - @N_Rittenhouse1

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