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Starbucks closed its stores last week to hold racial sensitivity training for its employees. This was on the heels of an embarrassing incident where a Philadelphia Starbucks employee had two black men arrested because they were assumed to be loitering.  Ironically, the same day the training was held, Roseanne Barr had her hit TV show cancelled because of a tweet considered to be racist. Barr tweeted that former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett was a product of the Muslim Brotherhood and the "Planet of the Apes." Even though Barr apologized and called it a "bad joke," her program was cancelled. There's a lesson here.  Public utterances have consequences.  And when you have a huge platform, the consequences for offensive words can be severe. It's a reminder that we should all be careful with our words and when in doubt about saying something, it's better to be left unsaid. 

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center