NAACP: Sensitivity training not enough in recent racial incidents

Posted: Updated:

The vice chair of the Edison chapter of the NAACP says that sensitivity training is not enough when it comes to combating racial discrimination at businesses.

Juanita McKoy says that there should be companywide change, such as a separate corporate body to respond immediately to discrimination complaints.

“Is it going to be a black person doing the training? Because you cannot tell me that you’re going to have a white person sit there and train them on sensitivity when they have not walked in those shoes,” McKoy says.

RELATED: LA Fitness employees fired over treatment of black customers
RELATED: Starbucks to close stores for an afternoon for bias training

In a recent incident at an LA Fitness in Secaucus, Asbury Park resident Tshyrad Oates says that he and a friend were harassed inside the gym because they were black.

Oates says that staff approached the two men to ask to see their membership credentials after they'd already checked in and that staff also called police on them. Oates recorded the exchange on his cellphone and posted the video on Facebook

“I was asked to scan in again. I’m the only person in the gym that was asked to scan again,” Oates said in the video.

Police responded but said that the men did not commit any crimes. Three employees of the gym were later fired.

Two black men were arrested inside a Philadelphia Starbucks earlier this month because they sat at a table without making a purchase. The men said that they were waiting for a friend before they ordered.

Starbucks apologized to the two men and announced that it would close many of its shops for a few hours in May in order to hold sensitivity training sessions for employees.

“I go back to the corporation itself. You had to know something, somebody knew, something wasn't done fairly,” McKoy says. “To go back and say ‘We’re going to do a sensitivity training,’ that's not good enough. That's not acceptable.”

Oates declined to be interviewed about the incident, at request of his attorney.

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