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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
Starbucks Wants Baristas to Talk About Race With You
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.

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"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. (Read more Starbucks stories.)

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