MANSFIELD: Getting Starbucked


Languages can be dead (Latin, Sanskrit, Old English are prime examples) or alive, like the English we speak, which is constantly changing and shifting in response to the zeitgeist.

And due to recent cultural/societal/legal developments I’m introducing a new word into the lexicon: “Starbucked.” In essence, I’m taking a well-known noun — the name on the most ubiquitous coffee shops in the world — and turning it into an action word, a verb.

To wit: To get “Starbucked” is to be treated differently due to having melanin in one’s pigmentation. In other words, when a black person gets dogged out for no other reason than being black; to be treated as an interloper into spaces that white folks feel should be exclusively reserved for their usage; and to be treated as a criminal for doing the exact same thing a white person does without consequence: existing in a space and time.

My goal is to create a form of shorthand for such racist behavior in hopes that by calling it out, giving a name to it, so it can more readily be eradicated. This shit needs to stop.

Of course, the genesis of my thinking has to do with the two brothers that were arrested for sitting in a Starbucks in Philadelphia, waiting for a third man so they could conduct a business meeting. The problem allegedly arose when the men didn’t make a purchase and refused to leave when approached by a store employee. The police were subsequently called and they were arrested.

But the fact is, some people sit all day in Starbucks all over the country sans a purchase, and without incident — as long as they are white. I know someone who worked near the Starbucks where the Philly incident occurred, and he assures me that the vast majority of the customers at that location are white, as the shop is in an upscale part of downtown. So, in his informed opinion, race definitely was the reason the incident happened.

And then, not too many days later, two black men were asked to leave an LA Fitness workout facility, in spite of the fact that one was an eight-year member, and the other a registered guest. And then there was the incident at a golf course where a group of black women was asked to leave because they allegedly were “playing too slow.” At the rate golf courses are closing around the country, one would think that operators would want folks to play at any speed they damn well cared to.

Of course, simply naming the incidents won’t bring them to an end, but it’s at least a start because every person of color knows when they’ve been treated badly — and now we have a name for it: Getting “Starbucked.”

From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.



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