Conversation About Race


White Starbucks



Starbucks, that purveyor of overpriced beverages by underpaid workers, decided last week to have a “conversation” on race with its customers, and after an avalanche of ridicule they have ended it.

Howard D. Schultz, the chief executive of Starbucks, said in a letter to employees on Sunday that baristas would no longer be encouraged to write the phrase “Race Together” on customers’ coffee cups, drawing to a close a widely derided component of the company’s plan to promote a discussion on racial issues.

“While there has been criticism of the initiative — and I know this hasn’t been easy for any of you — let me assure you that we didn’t expect universal praise,” Mr. Schultz wrote.

Having baristas write on customers’ cups, Mr. Schultz wrote, “which was always just the catalyst for a much broader and longer-term conversation — will be completed as originally planned today, March 22.”

That end date had not previously been mentioned publicly, including during Mr. Schultz’s discussion of the initiative at the company’s annual shareholders meeting last week, but a company spokeswoman, Laurel Harper, said employees had been told about it.

Asked whether Starbucks was reacting to criticism, Ms. Harper said, “That is not true at all. When we initially began the Race Together initiative, what we wanted to do is spark the conversation, because we believe that is the first step in a complicated issue.”

She added, “Leading change isn’t an easy thing to accomplish.”

The initiative, which began last week, was mocked with such vehemence on social media that the company’s senior vice president for global communications deleted his Twitter account because, as he wrote on Medium, he felt “personally attacked in a cascade of negativity.”

Go here to read the rest.  Starbucks no doubt never imagined they would receive any criticism for this.  An overwhelmingly lily-white liberal corporation catering to a largely white liberal clientele, I assume they thought they would receive plaudits for handing out liberal white talking points on race.  Instead, the larger society noted the hypocrisy and the hilarity of being lectured to by someone selling you a cup of coffee.

Any true honest discussion on race in this country would begin with these words from Frederick Douglass in 1865:

“In regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us… I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! … And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! If you see him on his way to school, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going to the dinner table at a hotel, let him go! If you see him going to the ballot box, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going into a work-shop, just let him alone, — your interference is doing him positive injury.”

If his words had been heeded there would be little race problem in this country today. Instead it remains a festering sore for demagogues to make political capital from.

More to explorer


  1. If you want a good cup of coffee at a reasonable price from a chain, go to Dunkin’ Donuts or Einstein Bros. where you can get it without pretentions. Or better yet, go to a locally owned shop, as long as it is not too close to a college or university campus.

  2. The best conversation about race…is no conversation about race.

    Treat everyone the same. Don’t be race obsessed as the liberals (who are the main racists) are.

  3. Starbucks trial balloon popped!

    This was a test. They were testing for the real issue….next years election. I hope this failure hits Starbucks hard in the bottom line.

  4. Please correct me if I err.
    10 people are depicted in the leadership team photo for Starbucks.
    16 people are Caucasian.
    16 people are men.
    3 people are woman.
    3 people are non-Caucasian – one black, one Indian (I think), and one Asian.
    I hate, loathe, despise, abhor, detest and hold in utter contempt, disdain and revulsion godless liberal progressivism.
    I have not bought Starbucks in a long time. I shall continue my boycott.

  5. Opps, my error. Change 10 people depicted to 19 people depicted. Darn 0 is next to the nine key!

  6. “She added ‘leading change isn’t an easy thing to accomplish.'”
    Laurel Harper, the Starbuck’s company spokesman, was able to pack an
    astonishing amount of complacent preening and self-pity into just that
    one line. Starbucks so richly deserves their ridicule.

  7. “Right back at you” for all the thumbs down. Mr. Shultz has been schooled in racism. Those who love their neighbor as themselves do not need it and those who are bone ignorant will not have it.
    Name calling is not an argument nor is it a conversation. It is called bullying. It is basically irrational, that action of a rational human soul denied.

  8. P.S. “Right back at you” is what I tell those who call me names, ridicule and/or curse me. It is the only real response to bullying an individual can give. (I used to throw stones at boys, but you did not need to know that)

  9. Paul W Primavera: “Opps, my error. Change 10 people depicted to 19 people depicted. Darn 0 is next to the nine key!”
    And they just keep making these machines that way. I am still trying to find my way out of the ethersphere when I inadvertently send my self there. Say, Paul, If you find me, send me home. Thanks.

  10. I’m not a coffee drinker. Neither is the missus, and she’s from Santiago de Cali, Colombia, the nation with the best coffee on earth. Before we had our boys, we made occasional trips to DC to visit friends and would stop at a Colombian grocery store on the DC-Maryland border on Georgia Avenue. I bought coffee and gave it as gifts.

    I haven’t been in DC in almost four years. One of my son’s hockey coaches is originally form Quebec, and Tim Horton’s is HUGE in Canada – and some selected US locations. Their donuts beat other donut shops and I give the coffee as a gift to my boys’ Godmother and tonight my son’s hockey coaches are getting K cups as a gift – in part for putting up with him. They deserve nothing less.

    Starbucks does not exist to me. Starbucks has less importance to me than hair coloring.

  11. Penguins Fan.

    “Starbucks has less importance to me than hair coloring.”

    Funny line. Thanks for the smile.

  12. If you want a good cup of coffee at a reasonable price from a chain, go to Dunkin’ Donuts

    You go to Dunkin’ if you want their eats or if the quality of the coffee (somewhat bland) is agreeable to you. Different flavors than Starbuck’s.

    Or better yet, go to a locally owned shop

    They have excellent Danish and crescent rolls, indifferent lunches, and terrible coffee.

  13. This whole incident is very strange, but it has seemed in the last 15 years that much of the executive suite has been taken over by people who’ve absorbed what college diversicrats trade in because there wasn’t anything else occupying that space in their head. An argument for liberal education, I guess, although, it it’s just a class marker, liberal education might not do much good even if it was not delivered by sectaries (as it will be most places).

  14. I like Glenn Reynolds’s take on this: “The primary purpose of race-talk in America today is to allow elite whites to silence and shame non-elite whites. Thus, it’s not surprising that the people pushing it are . . . a bunch of elite whites.”

  15. “The primary purpose of race-talk in America today is to allow elite whites to silence and shame non-elite whites.”

    That is the real point. A need to feel superior to others.

    I also think that this type stuff is a natural outflow of not having a proper relationship with Jesus Christ. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves–not control them or force them to be what WE think they should be.

    Our society has truly turned into one in which everyone must find fault with everyone else–causing constant factionalism and chaos. The Holy Spirit brings peace and encouragement. Most times encouragement that is most effective is silent prayer for others.

  16. “Starbucks, that purveyor of overpriced beverages by underpaid workers”.

    Sadly Starbucks is all over the world and in the leadership team 16 people are Caucasian and 16 people are men. There is much needed to be done to improve race relations all over the world. Sadly one of the biggest race problems is how blacks and ethnic minorities are still highly represented as underpaid workers, in poverty and in the prison system.

  17. Starbucks was a woeful failure in Australia. It launched its first Sydney cafe in 2000 before opening a further 84 outlets across Australia’s eastern coast. Just eight years later, it had stacked up $143 million in recorded losses and was forced to close 60 stores. I think 25 are left. But they are run by Withers- who own 7-Eleven- what does that tell you?! The coffee is better at 7-Eleven.

    Forget the awful business culture- Starbucks coffee is horrible. Even in comparison to Instant coffee. It’s not even coffee, but more like a coffee-drink.

    The thought of visiting a Starbucks and ordering horrible coffee, whilst being confronted by staff with bad manners forcing me to talk about race.

    Heck, Id rather order a coffee at a McDonalds.

  18. Great reminder–Frederick Douglass’ quote posted above.

    As the local on-site ‘reporter’ in the “CCCP”-(SF) Bay Area, I note that this proposal ignited an explosion here also by our many resident progressives. Even THEY don’t want their overpriced coffee ruined by a race-discussion at 7am. Pursuit of higher awareness can only commence later in the day.

  19. Will Starbucks demand a conversation about the slaughter of innocent humans inside their mother’s womb…and why not?

  20. Will Starbucks demand a conversation about the slaughter of innocent humans inside their mother’s womb…and why not?

    No, because among the sort of people who land jobs in corporate management (including corporate counsel), an objection to the slaughter of the innocent is considered vulgar. Ditto the faculties which expend other people’s money on diversicrats.

  21. I certainly mean during the time of the current Administration and with all the troubles of the past year. Actual racial prejudice was on the way out as much as thirty or so years ago but has returned as perhaps part of a divide and conquer theme of the political Left. I have a strong sense of a bloodless, gun-less revolution underway. Who funds these riots in Ferguson and elsewhere?

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