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Can we unlearn implicit bias?

Flickr Photo/Iain Farrell (CC BY 2.0)/
In the wake of outrage over the April arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia store, Starbucks has closed 8,000 US stores for racial bias training.

If you went in search of a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, you may have come up empty-handed. Across the nation, Starbucks stores closed for a 4 hour training session on racial bias. 

The trainings come in the wake of a much-publicized incident in which a barista called the police on two black men less than two minutes after they arrived, after one of them asked to use the restroom while waiting for an associate. 

We asked UW psychology professor Tony Greenwald whether it's possible to train away biases, and what we can expect from what the company is calling a first step on the path to fixing the problem.

Year started with KUOW: 1985 – 1986, 1991 – 2004, 2012