Starbucks Wants Baristas to Talk About Race With You It's part of a new initiative by CEO Howard Schultz By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Mar 17, 2015 12:08 PM CDT 40 comments Comments In this photo taken March 12, 2015, Seattle police officer Debra Pelich talks with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) (Newser) – Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is on another mission: race relations. Under a new company initiative, baristas are being encouraged to write the phrase "Race Together" on customers' cups in the hope of starting a conversation about race, reports Fortune. "It is so vitally important to the country," Schultz explained in a video to employees, rejecting the idea that the topic is too volatile. Starbucks is teaming with USA Today on the project, which has plenty of critics snarking about it online. "The idea—that the revolutionary action needed in our nation’s continued entanglement with racism is writing a phrase on a Starbucks cup—is a frothy combination of one pump hubris, three pumps privilege, and four shots of I-can’t-even," writes Alexandra Petri at the Washington Post, in a typical sentiment. Jezebel, meanwhile, offers a guide for customers, including this suggestion on what to say: "Caramel macchiato. By the way, I'd never refer to your beautiful skin as 'caramel,' even though it does look good enough to eat. Racists are horrible, am I right?" Schultz is no stranger to criticism of his social stands, though. In fact, he seems to relish it.