Civil RightsDomestic Public PolicyAmerican GovernmentInterest Groups & Social Movements

Arrests at a Starbucks

Posted on in Civil Rights · Domestic Public Policy · American Government · Interest Groups & Social Movements


Last week, two men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks, leading to nationwide outrage and continued conversations about being a black person in America. 

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for Arrests at a Starbucks


“Black men arrested at Philadelphia Starbucks say they feared for their lives”

“Men Arrested At Philadelphia Starbucks Speak Out; Police Commissioner Apologizes”

“The Starbucks racism video is remarkable for just how unremarkable it is to black Americans”

“Black men arrested at Philadelphia Starbucks agree to meet with CEO”

“A look at claims of racial bias in US restaurants”



  • Writing: Why did the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks receive nationwide attention?
  • Debate: More institutions should adopt racial bias training.
  • Poll: How many of you have been in a coffee shop without ordering for more than a few minutes while waiting for friends, family, or colleagues?
  • Short Answer: How did the CEO of Starbucks respond to the arrest of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson?

Current events quiz:

1) The Police Commissioner of Philadelphia first defended his officers then offered a public apology. (T/F)

2) Starbucks has an explicit store policy prohibiting people from sitting in its stores without ordering. (T/F)

3) The two men arrested in the Philadelphia Starbucks were only in the store for a few minutes before a manager called police. (T/F)

4) The CEO of Starbucks responded to the arrests last week by ______.

  1. defending the police officers
  2. denying Starbucks has a problem with racial bias
  3. announcing the closure of all stores in May for bias training
  4. none of the above

5) In his follow-up public appearance, the Police Commissioner of Philadelphia said he ______.

  1. “had nothing to apologize for”
  2. “failed miserably”
  3. “should have more forcefully backed his officers”
  4. none of the above


1) True

2) False

3) True

4) C

5) D


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