Monday, March 23, 2015

Race Together Comes Apart

Well this brand disaster of a plan lasted all of a week.

According to a recently released internal memo, Starbucks baristas will no longer write “Race Together” on customers’ cups starting Sunday.

Starbucks spokesman Jim Olson says the campaign to create discussion on diversity and racial inequality will continue without the handwritten messages, which are phasing out as originally planned.

The memo from CEO Howard Schultz says the cups were always “just the catalyst” for a broader conversation and the company will still hold forum discussions, co-produce special sections in USA TODAY and put more stores in minority communities as part of the Race Together initiative.

The initiative has been criticized as opportunistic and inappropriate, coming in the wake of racially charged events such as protests over police killings of black males.

Olson says the change is not a reaction to that pushback.

Sure it's not.  And I'm really Boudica, Queen of the Celts.

Look, this was a horrible idea to begin with, because the only thing worse than people refusing to have a real conversation on race is people having a forced, non-serious conversation about it generated by a coffee company.  It's great that Starbucks wants to be a good corporate citizen, but it was putting all the pressure on its baristas to do the work with little or no guidance, particularly when you sell a product in places where your customer base is mostly white.

There are some real things Starbucks could do, and it looks like according to the statement they plan to at least start on doing them, but #RaceTogether was a road paved with good intentions with only one possible destination.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails