First, I have applauded both your observations about how institutionalized racism must be combated and the presentation of arguments. Both are spot on.

Secondly, I agree with Rand Hooks that the specific incident has been blown out of proportion. My personal belief is that retails businesses should be courteous enough to allow anyone to use a restroom since public restrooms are virtually non-existent in our public landscape, except in malls of one kind or another. This is a major problem for homeless people but I did not get the impression that the people in question were homeless.

On the other hand, I also suspect there is something strange going on at this particular Starbucks because I have never had to ask to use a restroom at a Starbucks. They are open to the public and no one monitors the use of a Starbuck’s restroom, so why did these two black men have to ask to use the restroom?

I suspect that this particular Starbucks may have a problem with transients using and perhaps abusing the restrooms there and therefore they have locked it down, forcing patrons to ask for access. It seems to me that this is the only way this confrontation could have occurred….and that’s where the racism lies.

As a 70 year old white man, I am quite certain that I could have walked into that Starbucks, asked to use the restroom, and been granted access. The fact that these two black men were refused access upon request is where racism starts to raise it’s ugly head.

So, while I agree with Rand Hooks that it is something of an exaggeration to draw a parallel between restroom denial and police shootings, it remains clear that there was a racial bias affecting how this event transpired.

Alan is a poet, journalist, short story writer, editor, website developer, and political activist. He is the executive editor of