Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Starbucks Baristas To Hassle Customers About ‘Race Relations’
Starbucks Baristas To Hassle Customers About ‘Race Relations’
by John Hayward17 Mar 2015
Fortune reports on what might just be the worst entry in the long history of bad corporate ideas, as the Starbucks coffee chain announces a “race relations initiative” that will include baristas hassling customers about racism:
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.
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. This Friday, each copy of USA Today— which has a daily print circulation of almost 2 million and is a partner of Starbucks in this initiative — will have the first of a series of insert with information about race relations, including a variety of perspectives on race. Starbucks coffee shops will also stock the insert.
In a video addressing Starbucks’ nearly 200,000 workers, 40% of whom are members of a racial minority, [Starbucks CEO Howard] Schultz dismissed the notion that race was too hot a topic business-wise for Starbucks to tackle.
“I reject that. I reject that completely,” he said in the video address. “It’s an emotional issue. But it is so vitally important to the country,” he continued, pointing to that the United States is “so much better” than what the current state of race relations portray it to be.
There will be no escape from politics in America, good citizens. Your consciousness will be raised every time you walk into a room, unwrap a package, engage any form of communications device, or even accept a cup of coffee. Enjoy your evening’s rest while you can, until left-wingers figure out a way to beam political messages into your dreams.
This sounds like a strategy to beat Starbucks’ stock into the dirt; maybe the hidden agenda is to drive customers away so they can shut down a few of the stores they threw up in their over-expansion frenzy and write off the losses. Even the act of handing customers a cup with race messages hand-written on them is going to make people feel uncomfortable, which is presumably the point of the exercise. It would be bad enough if these slogans were pre-printed on the containers, but hand-writing them turns it into a personal assault from the barista upon the customer – he or she is calling you out.
If the baristas begin verbally hassling customers in an effort to “start a discussion on race” with people who just want a cup of coffee and a danish to get their busy day started, this initiative will end up putting a thousand videos on YouTube, few of them flattering to Starbucks. Some of the customers are going to be more than merely annoyed by ambush confrontations over this “emotional issue.”
The Fortune article goes on to say that Starbucks hatched this idea following “several months of consultations with employees that started in December, in part as a result of protests that roiled several U.S. cities after grand juries declined to indict white police officers in the killings of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., near St. Louis, and 43-year-old Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y.”
Does that mean the “conversations on race” they’ll be serving up with chai lattes will include explaining how that grand jury decision in Ferguson was entirely correct, as per every analysis up to and including Eric Holder’s Justice Department? Will they be sparking up conversations with people wearing “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot?” T-shirts to chastise them for spreading a deliberate falsehood manufactured by race-baiting opportunists?
It won’t take long before Starbucks’ remaining customer base begins complaining that barista-initiated race conversations are slanted one way or the other. It won’t be long before the first customer says he thinks there’s been great progress overall in race relations, and an angry barista snaps at him… or a customer snaps and treats the entire cafe to an angry harangue, which might just escalate into a fight… or someone stares at the hand-written coffee cup and asks the cafe staff, in a tone of barely-controlled rage, “Are you calling me a racist?” And they probably won’t get through the first week of this dopey idea before irate customers begin yelling at the baristas to can the grad-school sociology lectures and just pour the damn coffee already.
Fortune mentions some of the other political squabbles Starbucks has gotten caught up in, including the notorious 2013 open letter to gun owners asking them not to bring their weapons into the store, $5 bracelets sold to raise money for “U.S. job creation,” and a pledge to hire 10,000 veterans and their spouses over five years. Whatever one thinks of those initiatives – I guess President Obama didn’t share that “no such thing as shovel-ready jobs” lesson he forced the rest of us to pay for with Starbucks management – they’re quiet. They didn’t make customers feel uncomfortable, aside from perhaps a few baristas who got carried away upselling those “job creation bracelets.”
Race relations, on the other hand, is an inherently aggressive topic. It’s rarely fodder for brief, upbeat discussions. One of the important lessons to learn from the Ferguson mess is that race relations have been politicized in the worst possible way – animosities are deliberately stoked by dishonest operators who profit financially and politically from unrest.
Good people of every ethnic background who aren’t racist in the slightest nevertheless feel nervous and defensive about the issue. Even if the barista and a particular customer see eye-to-eye on the issue, there’s a good chance other customers within earshot will not. Organized pressure groups will realize hanging around at Starbucks is a great way to cause a camera-ready scene… and if management finds their behavior objectionable, they’ll be able to say, with considerable justification, that they just came to participate in the big racial discussion the corporation claims it’s eager to host.
As for the average Joe who just wants his cup of expensive joe, he’ll either slump his shoulders and start working up some prepared comments he can mumble to get the barista off his back… or he’ll get his coffee from a company that doesn’t treat him like a lab rat in a consciousness-raising experiment. Perhaps some quick-thinking restaurant chains will begin advertising themselves as peaceful politics-free zones where people can enjoy meals and beverages without being proselytized from every angle.
In the less critical sense, the phrase is commonly used in two contexts. In the first, and more common context, it alleges that someone has deliberately and falsely accused another person of being a racist in order to gain some sort of advantage. An example of this use of the term occurred during the O. J. Simpson murder trial, when critics accused the defense of "playing the race card" in presenting Mark Fuhrman's past (e.g., his recorded use of the word "nigger" in addition to his being accused of tampering with murder evidence in prior cases, as well as his use of the Fifth Amendment to avoid potential self-incrimination upon questioning) as a reason to draw his credibility as a witness into question.
Daley's shameful play of the race card
September 23, 2007|By Bob Ryan
Richard M. Daley
Richard M. Daley is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, William M. Daley’s brother, was the Chicago (IL) mayor, Michelle Obama was his staffer, and Valerie B. Jarrett was his deputy chief of staff.
Note: Mellody L. Hobson is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, William W. Bradley is her mentor, the chairman for DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc, a director at the Starbucks Corporation, and a trustee at the Sundance Institute.
Howard D. Schultz was a director at the DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc, and is the chairman & president & CEO for the Starbucks Corporation.
Foundation to Promote Open Society was a funder for the Sundance Institute, the NPR, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (think tank), the Brookings Institution (think tank), and the International Rescue Committee.
George Soros was the chairman for the Foundation to Promote Open Society, and a benefactor for the NPR.
Kinsey Wilson was the EVP & chief content officer for the NPR, an executive editor for USA Today, and is the editor for innovation & strategy for the New York Times.
Howard Wollner is the foundation president for the NPR, and was the SVP for the Starbucks Corporation.
William W. Bradley is a trustee at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (think tank), Mellody L. Hobson’s mentor, and a director at the Starbucks Corporation.
Jessica Tuchman Mathews was the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (think tank), an honorary trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank), is a director at the American Friends of Bilderberg (think tank), and a 2008 Bilderberg conference participant (think tank).
Ed Griffin’s interview with Norman Dodd in 1982
(The investigation into the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace uncovered the plans for population control by involving the United States in war)
William M. Daley is Mayor Richard M. Daley’s brother, a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, was the chief of staff for the Barack Obama administration, and a trustee at Northwestern University.
Christine E. Brennen is a trustee at Northwestern University, and a sports columnist for USA Today.
Valerie B. Jarrett was Mayor Richard M. Daley’s deputy chief of staff, is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the senior adviser for the Barack Obama administration, and a friend of Michelle Obama.
Michelle Obama is a friend of Valerie B. Jarrett, married to Barack Obama, an advocate for the ONE Campaign, was Mayor Richard M. Daley’s staffer, and a lawyer at Sidley Austin LLP.
Barack Obama was an intern at Sidley Austin LLP, and the president of the Barack Obama administration.
Robert M. Gates was the defense secretary for the Barack Obama administration, and is a director at the Starbucks Corporation.
R. Eden Martin is counsel at Sidley Austin LLP, and the president of the Commercial Club of Chicago.
Newton N. Minow is a senior counsel at Sidley Austin LLP, and a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago.
Cyrus F. Freidheim Jr. is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, and an honorary trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank).
Sheryl K. Sandberg was a trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank), a director at the Starbucks Corporation, and is a director at the ONE Campaign.
ONE Campaign is a partner with the International Rescue Committee.
Harold E. Ford Jr. was an overseer at the International Rescue Committee, is a political commentator for MSNBC, and a 2008 Bilderberg conference participant (think tank).
Morning Joe is a MSNBC program.
Starbucks Corporation is a sponsor for Morning Joe.
Steven L. Rattner is a frequent guest on Morning Joe, and a trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank).
Henry A. Kissinger is an overseer at the International Rescue Committee, a director at the American Friends of Bilderberg (think tank), the founder of Kissinger Associates, Inc., and a 2008 Bilderberg conference participant (think tank).
Timothy F. Geithner is a director at the International Rescue Committee, was an overseer at the International Rescue Committee, a researcher at Kissinger Associates, Inc., and the treasury secretary for the Barack Obama administration.
Joshua Cooper Ramo is the vice chairman for Kissinger Associates, Inc., and a director at the Starbucks Corporation.
Posted by Sam and Bunny Sewell at 2:06 PM