Monday, March 23, 2015

Starbucks ditches #RaceTogether campaign on its US coffee cups

Tweet of pictures of white hands holding 'race together' Starbuck cups

Recently Starbucks has started a trend where baristas will write “Race Together” on cups to signify the “diversity and racial inequality”. This has been seen by consumers to be rather awkward and “opportunistic and inappropriate”.

This campaign was originally launched after the Ferguson shooting. The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, acknowledges that this is trend is not widely accepted. Now Starbucks is dropping the campaign completely.

Many people that were interviewed said they felt uncomfortable talking about race when getting coffee or it was really awkward in general. I agree that this may not be the right place to talk about race but this issue does have to acknowledged. Do you think Starbucks was on the right track in publicizing the issue of diversity and racial inequality? Was it simply that this happened in Starbucks that caused people to dislike the movement? If Starbucks is not the right place to bring up this real issue what is the right place?


Miranda Brinkley said...

I certainly agree that this seems to be just a tad awkward, especially since from my perspective Starbucks has never exactly been at the front of any particular political movement, although I may very well be mistaken. However, I do agree with their idea of raising awareness and in passing thought the campaign might have been a good one-lots of people stop for coffee every morning, chat with their barista, and generally have a somewhat social atmosphere to their mornings. The hard part is that race in general can be an awkward topic and while sometimes the issue definitely needs to be forced and people need to talk about the problems regarding race, the first cup of coffee in the morning would not really be the ideal way to do it.

Zaneta Lai said...

It's nice (and interesting) to see a large corporation such as Starbucks trying to raise awareness for political issues. Obviously, Starbucks is a company that almost every American knows about and is a chain store which many go to everyday for their daily fix of caffeine. It's quite clever that they used their reach to try and bring more awareness to the issue.

I do not believe that there is ever a "right" time or place to bring up issues like racial inequality or other political issues. If we just pretend that it doesn't happen and only address it when a large issue of racial inequality appears then we will never get anywhere as a country.

Maybe most people would just like to receive their coffee without having to think about political issues through their morning haze, I respect that. But I personally don't think it would have been as awkward as other possible encounters that could have occurred at Starbucks.