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Your Latte Is Going To Come With A Side Of ‘Huh?’ As Starbucks Encourages Baristas To Talk To Customers About Race

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Starbucks Reports Quarterly EarningsStarbucks is launching an initiative that CEO Howard Schultz thinks will be ‘catalytic’ for race relations in this country. Spoiler alert: it won’t.

Schultz thinks we need to have more discussions about race. So he’s instructing his baristas to begin talking to their customers about it. I can almost picture the confused looks on all the baristas faces as they were being introduced to this new initiative called “Race Together.’ Schultz thinks it will be “catalytic.” Mkay.

Starbucks published a full page ad in the New York Times on Sunday – it was a blank black page with a tiny caption reading “Shall We Overcome?” in the the middle of it. There was another full page ad on Monday in USA Today, this time the image was of the recognizable boxes on the side of a Starbucks cup. Instead of saying decaf, nonfat, etc. — the boxes, when read together, said, “When it comes to race, we are all human.”

Beginning next week, some Starbucks employees may decide to write the words “race together” on coffee cups to encourage conversations about race.

Barista: Welcome to Starbucks! What can I get for you?

Customer: I’ll have a grande coffee and a pumpkin muffin.

Barista: What is your opinion on the current status of race relations in America?

Customer: I haven’t even had a cup of coffee yet.

Barista: I know. I don’t know why they’re making me do this. I hate my job.

To be fair, no one is making anyone do anything. Starting this Friday, USA Today — which Fortune magazine notes has a daily print circulation of almost two million and is a partner of Starbucks in this initiative — will have the first of a series of inserts about race relations. Starbucks will stock the insert for their customers. From a company statement released Monday, “Race Together is not a solution, Schultz acknowledged, ‘but it is an opportunity to begin to re-examine how we can create a more empathetic and inclusive society – one conversation at a time.'”

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