Starbucks has launched a new initiative named “Race Together” intended to help repair America’s race relations through coffee and counseling, courtesy of company baristas.
Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz held a company-wide discussion to determine how Starbucks could play a part in healing a nation after prolonged civil unrest has divided much of the country in racial turmoil.
“We at Starbucks should be willing to talk about these issues in America,” Schultz said in a statement.
“Not to point fingers or to place blame, and not because we have answers, but because staying silent is not who we are.”
The company conversation began with internal open forums where, over the past three months, Starbucks employees voiced their opinions on what they could do to ease palpable cultural tension.
“The current state of racism in our country is almost like humidity at times. You can’t see it, but you feel it,” said one employee.
The in-house discussions were apparently so cathartic that employees expressed their desire to have these conversations with their customers too.
Baristas in Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Oakland and Los Angeles voluntarily started writing “Race Together” on coffee cups in hopes to have enlightened conversations with patrons. Today, all Starbucks stores are joining them in that effort.
And that’s how the new initiative, “Race Together” was born.
Full-page ads supporting the initiative will run in the New York Times and USA Today, according to the Starbucks statement.
However, not everyone is feeling all warm and fuzzy over the new program. And some prefer to have their latte without a side dose of unsolicited advice from a pimply faced stranger.
How could this go wrong? I mean, name just ONE way this could go wrong. http://t.co/ERYXQ2IfuT (via @elongreen)
— Michael Schaub (@michaelschaub) March 17, 2015
Let’s count the ways…
y’all realize there are no coloured hands in the press photos right @Starbucks #RaceTogether pic.twitter.com/Epd9knTYfz
— black power alt bro (@vidalwuu) March 17, 2015
The only folks happy about Starbucks baristas discussing race with customers are the suits who run it. Feel-good liberalism at its worst.
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) March 17, 2015
“White people take their venti lattes like this. Black people take their venti lattes like *this*.” http://t.co/MuZQKHoVXZ
— Elon Green (@elongreen) March 17, 2015
How about you just give me my coffee. I don’t need another lecture on race, Starbucks #RaceTogether
— Matt Vespa (@mVespa1) March 17, 2015
@hale_razor You’re paying for political discourse with each high price cup of coffee you purchase…My choice is to not spend that money…
— The Beast (@timthejarhead) March 17, 2015
The first thing I want in the morning is a nice heaping cup of National Conversation http://t.co/WX47cP6IsV
— Kevin W. Glass (@KevinWGlass) March 17, 2015
Barista trolling RT @LADowd: These are the kids that @Starbucks thinks should be enlightening you and me about race. pic.twitter.com/aRYG9h9peM
— Bill O’Keefe (@DefendWallSt) March 17, 2015
“Evidence” of why no one will take this seriously.
@DefendWallSt So the smug Baristas who make $7 an hour, but think they r better than me already, just got smugger? Next stop Dunkin Donuts
— Big Ern (@R0yMunsoned) March 17, 2015
Why do I need to be lectured at by a liberal arts major pouring overpriced coffee about race? #RaceTogether @DefendWallSt @JustAnotherMo2
— MR. Marty (@gigg423) March 17, 2015
You don’t. At last check, Dunkin’ Donuts still has “lecture free” coffee for sale at a fraction of the cost.
“This @Starbucks #RaceTogether thing is the dumbest marketing plan in the history of marketing plans” – New Coke
— Cameron Gray (@Cameron_Gray) March 17, 2015
Related: You asked for it! Starbucks VP freaks out when minorities ask HIM race questions.
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