Opinion writer

“Cape Up” is Jonathan’s weekly podcast talking to key figures behind the news and our culture. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.

A young African American man who had just taken his sister to her prom was choked by a police officer at a Waffle House in North Carolina after an altercation that reportedly began when they sat at a table before it was cleaned. It was the fourth incident at a Waffle House over a 12-day period to receive national attention. Two black men were arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia after a manager called the police because the two hadn’t purchased anything as they waited to start a business meeting.

While Waffle House issued limp statements, Starbucks is doing more. On Tuesday afternoon, the global coffee retailer will close all its stores in the United States to conduct a company-wide training on racial bias. So, we’re taking this opportunity to present a special episode on race. The latest episode of “Cape Up” is past interviews that explore the history of African Americans in this country and how that informs what Starbucks employees will be hearing. We all should understand the genesis of the problem.

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For more conversations like this, subscribe to “Cape UP” on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.

Listen to the podcast to hear the conversation with Daina Ramey Berry on slavery; Bryan Stevenson explains why the African Americans who moved from South to the North in the Great Migration should be considered refugees; Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) recounts his harrowing civil rights march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge; DeJuan Patterson, a young activist from Baltimore, speaks passionately about the everyday trauma of being a black man in America; Andrea Ritchie discusses how African American women are perceived to be just as dangerous as black men by law enforcement; Stevenson returns to discuss how that presumption of danger and guilt impacts the criminal-justice system; and, despite this history and the here-and-now, Tamron Hall reminds us all that you don’t have to apologize for being black or loving this country.

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