Opinion | Elon James White: Don't act so incredulous, White America: You're the Starbucks store manager The black community and other people of color have patiently explained the systemic roots of this very American problem for years. We have pleaded for understanding to no avail. We’ve protested in the streets only to be called troublemakers and have white America lecture us on what Martin Luther King Jr. would do. And yet King received the same pushback 60 years ago as Black Lives Matter does today. Every day we have to cope with a racist society that swears it’s not racist while treating us as second-class citizens. Historical context matters, notes Dr. Blair L.M. Kelley, an assistant dean at North Carolina State and the author of “Right to Ride.” This incident is much bigger than the actions of one biased manager or even Starbucks’ corporate culture. Black men, women and children “have been excluded from public space for over a century in different contexts and in different places around the country, including Philadelphia. When we look at the history of segregation we see that it was the attempt to put law and policy behind the practices of keeping black people out of public spaces that were coded white.” The uncomfortable truth for white America is, again, that while this incident went viral, it is only remarkable because of how unremarkable it actually is. In the days immediately following the Philadelphia incident another video surfaced of a black man being denied entry into a Starbucks bathroom in southern California while a white man was given access without question.