Starbucks "Race Together"

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    CEO Howard Schultz said the “Race Together” campaign is meant to get customers thinking and talking, reports CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan.

    “This is a highly charged, highly emotional issue, we understand that,” Schultz said. “We’ve tried to be very thoughtful, very genuine, very authentic and recognize that by leveraging our stores, potentially, we can elevate the conversation and make a positive difference.”

    The way I understand this is that the barista will write something about race on my cup and invite me into a discussion about race?

    No thank you Mr. or Ms. Twentysomething Barista. I just want an Americano. I’m not a racist and I don’t need to be schooled by you or Starbucks. May I preach to you about Jesus or abortion?

    It’s not the baristas’ fault of course. I feel sorry for them for being forced to be stooges in this campaign of condescension.


    Kind of selling our young people short, aren’t you?

    Deane Johnson

    This is a bad idea, Starbucks. Wait until someone gets shot over it.


    I don’t think I’m selling anyone short. I wouldn’t have presumed in my early 20’s to be in a position to impart wisdom to someone in their 50’s.

    At any rate, sure if they want to have discussion groups about race relations, that’s fine and might be productive, but imposing a discussion on customers is a different matter. It could be taken as an insult, as if the customer has a defect and needs to work it out, and Starbucks can help.

    I think this might cost them some business. I’m inclined to dodge them until this blows over.


    I don’t patronize Starbucks at all, so it’s no sweat off my nose. I don’t care. We could get along a lot better in this world if people didn’t have to share their opinion on EVERYTHING.


    Business advocacy is risky.

    Some Progressive businesses do this, and they think the cost is worth it, and they do it in a variety of ways.

    Sparking a dialog isn’t a bad thing.

    Compare this to say somebody refusing business…

    I’m sure all the bartistas are free to participate or not.

    Just the CEO making the effort public will create some dialog.

    Avoid them, if you don’t want to think some on racism. Seems like that cost is deemed acceptable.

    Ben and Jerry’s made a business out of good, fun, advocacy ice cream.

    Per impression, this seems a good value.

    I don’t do Starbucks much, as I prefer Dutch Brothers, but I will deffo participate.

    Getting people talking is good. Dialog is how we resolve a lot of things.

    I strongly doubt there is even standing for a lawsuit.

    Unlike the bakeries, this is an up front social advocacy action, and people are free to come or go as they will.

    The other notable difference here is a positive action as opposed to a negative one.

    There is no serious debate on the ongoing harm and work to be done on racism.

    My coffee place brings up causes all the time. I get it a few times per week, and people talk about all sorts of stuff. Or not… up to them.

    It will be interesting to see this play out.


    This is interesting: 20 somethings with wisdom for 50 somethings.

    Yes. Not only is that a valid proposition way more than 50 somethings would like to admit, but it gets right at basic generational differences in play.

    I submit, you F&B could absolutely use some wisdom from 20 somethings as well as women.


    I personally am hedging for the idea. It’s disingenuous to discount 20-somethings, because of their age. They have a lot to learn from those of us who are older, and conversely we have a lot we can learn from them.

    Alas, I will never participate, as I boycott Starbucks and Howard Schultz (or, BECAUSE of Howard Schultz). But the idea is a good one.


    We probably spend $200 a month at Starbucks. Worth every penny.


    Their coffee is barely acceptable, but it’s consistent and I know what I’ll be getting when on the road. Dutch bros can be much better, but also can be much worse depending upon the stand and barista.

    I know wise women mk. They’re all pro-life, btw, except one, who is at least anti ivf. Don’t think my “extreme” views about “reproductive” rights means I don’t know women or haven’t learned from them. How many women do you know well who believe abortion is an injustice?

    And sure there are young people from whom I could learn some things, but I wouldn’t expect that in a contrived situation.

    I just want my coffee. I don’t want the barista to egg me on into a conversation. It’s manipulative and insincere. I don’t care what the topic is.


    Yeah, I know. We know.

    Sure, this competes with your kind of noise, and I think it completely chaps your ass because it’s much more well received.


    The problem with Howard Schultz’s Race Together program is that he’s picked the wrong venue with the wrong audience using the wrong spokespersons. Most of the customers at Starbucks probably don’t want to have their political awareness challenged by the person foaming their coffee. Minds are more likely to be changed by someone with some form of expertise in the subject, which baristas generally don’t have. Those who do wish to engage in a conversation about something as volatile as race are not open to change, they are either already the choir of believers in equality or are racists looking for an audience. Either way, no change will result from the exchange. In fact, I worry that such conversations could quickly escalate to violence.


    “Some form of expertise?”

    So, that minority barista, who has probably lived more racism than you are even capable of understanding isn’t “expertise?”

    Or maybe ordinary people, seeing this play out all the time isn’t enough “expertise?”

    I raised a black son. Maybe that’s “expertise?”

    Change happens through human dialog. Always has, always will.

    And you are wrong about the audience BTW. Few people walk this world who aren’t impacted by racism.

    One of the basic tasks at hand is to help them understand that. Many of them don’t. And it’s not their fault. Not generally, unless one can see an intent to be willfully ignorant about it all.

    A whole lot of human potential goes unrealized every day because of this and other basic discrimination. Our future is impacted by this, if nothing else. That means you are impacted by this, if nothing else.

    Starbucks has made a brand out of raising awareness, and it’s something the company is well known for and Progressive about.

    I don’t like aspects of the company, and in particular, how the CEO has handled some financial aspects for the people who serve up the coffee every day. But, this isn’t a bad move.

    You might not realize it F&B, but many larger corporations are progressive about these kinds of things. Intel, Siemens, Nike, Starbucks, et al. all have strong anti-discrimination policies. They have those policies because they are large enough to see how the impacts of these things cost them money, and at their scale, it’s real money.

    Some large companies, such as Walmart, need to be educated rather forcefully. Notice their move to actualize better wages? That wasn’t out of the good of their hearts. It was money, plain and simple, and the cost of not doing it exceeded the cost of doing it.

    …which was the point of all the dialog and advocacy efforts we see surrounding that issue.

    A very large number of Starbucks audience is working professionals, the majority of those will say, “yes, of course, this makes sense” and move on.

    I’m sure there is a bigot, racist, anti somebody or other in your neck of the woods more than willing to ignore basic human realities and simply take your money for a cup of joe.

    And it will cost less too.

    Aren’t you always going on about “free markets?”

    Well, there you go. The CEO of Starbucks knows a few folks will step away, but they also know a whole lot of people will back an action like this too.

    Tim Cook came out recently. Didn’t have to do that. He’s the CEO of Apple, who has a valuation that puts most big companies to shame.

    He made the same calculation. Some people will walk away from those “gay as shit” Apple products. Others will see that act as the basic good it was, and consider buying that “gay as shit” Apple product.

    I’m typing this on a “gay as shit” Apple product. 🙂

    Of course, I’ve been in the Apple camp since the venerable Apple ][ machine that sparked a life long love and very lucrative career associated with these wonderful computing machines. Maybe, I’ll make a post here from my //e Platinum one day. I got all the goodies needed. Just haven’t yet taken the time to set it all up just yet.

    Like I said, your opposition appears more sour grapes than anything else.

    Most people aren’t going to care much. “Oh look, Starbucks is running a campaign on racism.” get their Joe, maybe talk about it a little, move on, and there you go.

    He’s no fool. Starbucks has been seen in controversial terms by progressives, and those tip, wage, and working condition issues conflict with progressive minded people enough to warrant moves in the affirmative.

    If you want my opinion, this is as much about solidifying the audience that has wavered over those conflicts, as it is the issue of racism itself. Starbucks can do this, and be seen as the progressive type of company worth the price of the coffee. No joke. It’s dollars, plain and simple.


    It’s awkward. I bet they drop it soon.

    It’s not about race as far as I’m concerned, but about inappropriately forcing a conversation.

    I probably could live with it for awhile, but what I absolutely cannot tolerate at coffee shops is when people talk on their cell phones.


    It’s a campaign. It has an already defined run time.

    Then it will be on to some other thing.

    That is how campaigns work.

    Seems you are largely incompatible with coffee shops. Works gets done in them, meetings happen in and around them, friends gather in and around them.

    And that means chatter. Lots of it.

    Your local library has plenty of quiet, and I’ll bet there is a coffee shop, most likely a Starbucks, near by.

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