You could see this coming. It was as visible as a thunderhead on the prairie. The only people who couldn’t see the logical outcome of Starbucks’s utterly benighted plan to encourage untrained “baristas” start conversations on race with people they didn’t know was the people who came up with the idea.
Yesterday, my colleague, Moe Lane, set up the potential for hijinks:
I do not see how this could possibly end badly: “Beginning on Monday, Starbucks baristas will have the option as they serve customers to hand cups on which they’ve handwritten the words “Race Together” and start a discussion about race.” …And hopefully by Friday Starbucks will discover that roughly one-fourth of its customer base would very much like to respond to a discussion of race with the factual statement of “Gee, Senator Moynihan pretty much called itwhen he said that breaking up the nuclear family unit was going to blight African-Americans for generations, huh?” But they won’t, because in this particular case ‘discussion about race’ freely translates to ‘lecture the white person on race.’ That’s fine for the Left; they kind of have a taste for that sort of thing.
The first victim has been claimed. In the words of the immortal Walt Kelly, “we have met the enemy and he is us.”
Critics have been lashing out at the company on social media, saying Starbucks is trying to capitalize on racial tension in the US.
Following the backlash, Starbucks’ senior vice president of communications, Corey duBrowa, deleted his Twitter account, which only added to critics’ outrage.
DuBrowa told Business Insider that he deleted his account because he was attacked by critics of the campaign.
“I was personally attacked through my Twitter account around midnight last night and the tweets represented a distraction from the respectful conversation we are trying to start around Race Together,” duBrowa said. “I’ll be back on Twitter soon.”
But the damage is nowhere near contained. Starbucks has a partner in this silliness:
Starbucks, in partnership with USA TODAY, is about to tackle the issue of race in America.
This week, baristas at 12,000 Starbucks locations nationally will try to spark customer conversation on the topic of race by writing two words on customer cups: Race Together. Also, a special “Race Together” newspaper supplement, co-authored by Starbucks and USA TODAY, will appear in USA TODAY print editions beginning Friday, March 20. It also will be distributed at Starbucks stores.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is on a mission to encourage Starbucks customers and employees to discuss race, under the firm belief that it’s a critical first step toward confronting — and solving — racial issues as a nation. It is scheduled to be a key topic at the java giant’s annual meeting on Wednesday.
— Chris Barnhart (@ChrisBarnhart) March 17, 2015
This shows just how important the topic is. Untrained fast food workers are supposed to engage in it with customers, a coloring-book masquerading as a newspaper is going to cover it, and the genius who came up with the idea can’t be bothered to talk about it.