Demonstrators protest outside the Starbucks cafe in Philadelphia where two black men were arrested for waiting inside without ordering anything. On Tuesday, May 29, 2018, the company closed more than 8 000 stores nationwide to conduct anti-bias training. Picture: AP Photo/Ron Todt

Los Angeles/Miami - When Starbucks Corp closed 8000 of its US stores for anti-bias training, each of its employees at the coffee companies were made to watch a 8-minute long video.

The video was produced by Stanley Nelson "with the intent of educating our partners about the history of access to public spaces for African-Americans".

The video also shows African-Americans describing the cases of racial abuse that were directed at them.

The coffee chain closed US stores as a first step in training 175 000 employees on how to recognise their own unconscious biases and avoid unintentional discrimination.

According to Starbucks, employees shared life experiences and listened to experts on bias and racial anxiety during the training. It also consisted of "reflecting on the realities of bias in our society and talking about how all of us can work together to create public spaces where everyone feels like they belong."

In April, Rashon Nelson and his business partner, Donte Robinson were approached at their table and were asked if they needed help. The entrepreneurs declined, explaining they were waiting for a business meeting.

A few minutes later, they were arrested for trespassing. Their arrests sparked outrage across the US over what many called 'retail racism' and shopping while black'.

Starbucks Corp appealed to customers for forgiveness in a controversy over the alleged racial profiling, saying its behaviour toward the men in April had been reprehensible. 

Reuters and IOL