In an article published Monday evening, USA Today reporter Bruce Horovitz wrote: "Starbucks, in partnership with USA TODAY, is about to tackle the issue of race in America." Thank goodness someone is finally getting around to it!
The article outlines a new program called "Race Together," which will encourage baristas at 12,000 Starbucks locations to "spark customer conversation on the topic of race" by writing #RaceTogether on coffee cups. as well as by providing a "Race Together" newspaper supplement co-written by the coffee corporation and USA Today. The supplement will feature some hot button "conversation starters" that will help compel commuters to tackle the difficult subject of racism before 9 a.m.
"If a customer asks you what this is, try to engage in a discussion that we have problems in this country in regards to race," said Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in a video distributed to baristas across the country. "We believe that we are better than this, and we believe that our country is better than this."
Half-assed efforts at creating the appearance of a corporate social conscience are suspect at best. It's even worse when the corporation, which is often a harbinger of gentrification, is so clearly seizing upon a moment of national tension, violence and anger to promote itself.
Here are some of the best tweets mocking the campaign:
At least Starbucks' campaign succeeded in one small way...