Starbucks! I love #Starbucks…they make the best iced vanilla frapp ever! I also love how they can never spell my name right…M-A-Y-A really isn’t that hard. But, I’m not too sure on their new initiative to talk about race in their ‘Race Together’ campaign.’
I get it, race is a hot-button issue currently in our #society. That’s exactly the problem. Race is such a sensitive topic, one that I’m not sure the baristas at Starbucks are qualified to initiate conversation on. Of their more than 200,000 employees, will each employee undergo a diversity or race-relation training? I highly doubt it. Does Starbucks know the viewpoints and opinions of all their 200,000+ employees? That would be impossible.
Starbucks is potentially opening themselves to be at the center of a racial firestorm. Not everyone has an optimistic view on race, and I’m sure some of these people work at Starbucks. I’m sure most are simply ignorant, acting not out of malice but out of ignorance. Then there are those who are actually #racist or hold racist beliefs…are they not expected to share these beliefs when in conversation with their customers? And it’s not just the customers that I’m concerned for — how is Starbucks prepared to handle racist customers that will use this opportunity to openly berate and accost Starbucks employees without any hesitation?
In our nation, we are at a racial standpoint. The events of Michael Brown, and Trayvon Martin, and Eric Garner and so on, have left us very sensitive to the topic of race. How is Starbucks prepared to address this sensitivity and the actions that may result? What will stop these conversations from becoming physical in the height of the moment?
Lastly, many Starbucks customers go there for the peace and quiet atmosphere — it’s a place to go and drink your coffee in peace away from a busy work or school day. As an African American female, race is the last thing I want to be concerned about while in my ‘happy place’ at Starbucks…it’s on the forefront of my mind every where else, let me have my ‘happy place’ in peace.
Starbucks, I applaud you for wanting to promote change and unity throughout our nation by encouraging us to discuss the taboo issue of #race. However, I do not think you are fully prepared for how bad this could be. Do you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into? Who knows, perhaps this is just what the country needs to fix a problem that is so deeply rooted in who we are as a nation, taking us from where we came to where we still need to go…“Yes we can” be optimistic! The topic of race is an emotional, mental, and sometimes physical issue. I hope that Starbucks is fully prepared to address this in their wanting to ‘Race Together’. I have my fingers crossed Starbucks, hope this doesn’t backfire for you. In the meantime, I’ll be sipping on my frozen vanilla frappuccino looking like:
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Like, share, comment, follow!
Until next time <3