Bows & Arrows (Foursquare)

This Victoria coffee shop may be hiring, but they’re discouraging white cis-gendered men from applying for a job.

On Monday, Burnside’s Bows & Arrows Coffee Roasters called for summer applicants via Instagram, including baristas, counter staff, and kitchen help.

“At this time, yt (whitey) cis males are back of the line,” the job ad concluded.

Shortly after, a screenshot of the post ended up on Reddit, and backlash started pouring in, with many calling Bows & Arrows discriminatory and racist.

By Tuesday morning, the Reddit discussion Bows Coffee Not Hiring white CIS Males had surpassed 1,000 comments, while the controversial Instagram post hit 1,200 comments and counting.

“We went viral,” said company co-owner Drew Johnson, summing up the feedback as “white fragility cluttering up the feed, occupying space…”

In a subsequent post, Johnson said his intention was to de-prioritize job candidates who are white men “because we already have more than 50% of our workforce identifying as cis white male.”

“Myself included,” he said.

When someone is cis-gendered, it means they identify with their sex at birth.

Amid a “settler-colonial society,” Johnson says he’s working in a white male-dominated industry, and when given the opportunity to extend possibilities to those underrepresented, “we will do so.”

“I handled it badly, articulated it problematically, too polemically, and have put the staff in compromised positions in the front of house and with the phones ringing constantly. That’s on me,” explained Johnson, referring to the job ad.

“I should have employed inclusive language while stating the obvious rather than the flippant ‘back of the line’ statement.”

He’s also apologizing to LGBTQ2SP+ and BIPOC communities, saying the post took an “intrusive” turn and implied those “not presenting or passing as white and cis” would have to out themselves to get the job.

“I posted carelessly and it was wrong,” according to Johnson. 

“As we’ve said before, intentions don’t matter and this aspect of the post I would change had I done it over again. We have always advocated for addressing mistakes rather than covering and ducking.”

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