The ill-fated #RaceTogether campaign, begun only a few short days ago, is already over. I can’t imagine what good it did. It apparently did some harm, especially to wait times on caffeinated beverages. The people most adamantly against the campaign were in fact baristas, who felt they had already too little time during peak hours to prepare drinks, much less get into in-depth conversations about race:
The unorthodox marketing move was supposed to turn the coffee corporation’s stores into impromptu forums for racial dialogues, but even Starbucks staffers seemed confused by it.
“While there has been criticism of the initiative — and I know this hasn’t been easy for any of you — let me assure you that we didn’t expect universal praise,” Schultz said Sunday.
Well, what did you expect, Mr. Schultz? Seriously. I know Starbucks wants to do good things in the world, and #RaceTogether was just one little part of that attempt. But perhaps providing better coffee, better service, and better prices would actually do more. As it is, we have companies focused on political and social agendas, even to the detriment of their business goals. Wouldn’t it be better to provide an excellent product, and then invest your growing profits into other organizations you feel are doing a good job in the cultural arena?
But I guess that is a question. Who is doing a good job at what #RaceTogether was intended to accomplish? Are the #RaceTogether race conversations happening somewhere else? Not really. In fact, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find any forum where real race conversations are happening. Like I’ve said a million times, the race conversation doesn’t look like a conversation at all. It looks like one group of people talking and another group of people talking. And no one is really listening.
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