Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Wants His Baristas To Start Chatting Up Customers On Race Relations For Some Reason
HMMM – Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has never shied away from involving his company in controversial debates, whether those debates are about same-sex marriage, or gun control, or U.S. government gridlock. But the executive, who oversees a coffee empire with 4,700 U.S. stores, has now taken on arguably the most polarizing political debate in the United States: race relations. Starbucks published a full page ad in the New York Times on Sunday — a stark, black, page with a tiny caption “Shall We Overcome?” in the middle, and the words “RaceTogether” with the company logo, on the bottom right. The ad, along with a similar one on Monday in USA Today, is part of an initiative launched this week by the coffee store chain to stimulate conversation and debate about the race in America by getting employees to engage with customers about the perennially hot button subject.
I’ve thought about this subject for all of 10 minutes and I have a few opinions on it. One is good for Howard Schultz. He’s trying to get American’s talking about race relations and bring some progress to the issue. It is a hot button subject and it is something that isn’t going to just go away, and it shouldn’t. We as adults should be able to talk about race relations without things spiraling out of control. With that said, is Starbucks really the place for this? I understand people spend the majority of their days at Starbucks pretending to work on their screenplays or whatever but I feel like baristas aren’t the ones who should be spearheading the race relations issue. I don’t know who should be spearheading this issue; my initial suggestions would be local politicians and police officers since they seem to be the ones most affected by this, but for some reason my brain doesn’t immediately jump to baristas when I think ‘race relations mediators’. Maybe this strategy will pay off. or maybe we’ll forget about it in a few months, but one thing you can say right now is that Howard Schultz is a bold man. – Ryan