Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, is encouraging baristas to discuss race relations with customers following open forum discussions between thousands of Starbucks “partners” in several US cities.
In the wake of the recent racial unrest in Ferguson Missouri, New York and Oakland, Schultz said: “We at Starbucks should be willing to talk about these issues in America. Not to point fingers or to place blame, and not because we have answers, but because staying silent is not who we are.”
Yes we need to talk
Baristas have reportedly been encouraged to write the words “race together” on customers’ coffee cups, while reading material expected to be made available in branches will feature race “conversation starters,” including a fill-in-the-blank question asking: “In the past year, I have been to the home of someone of a different race ___ times.”
It is a noble aim, of course, to improve “race relations,” and it would be churlish to suggest it stems from anything less than the best of intentions.