I don’t know about you, but whenever I purchase a $8.00 cup of coffee, I want to be hectored about race by a tattooed and facially pierced 20-something barrista (read: store clerk) who is $50,000 in debt from obtaining his master’s degree in postmodernist anti-colonialist deconstructionist poetry. In other words, a skull full of mush, as Professor Kingsfield would say.
“Starbucks hit by ‘cascade of negativity’ after ordering staff to talk racism with customers: Vice President forced off Twitter as angry public turns on ‘patronizing’ project,” the London Daily Mail reports:
The campaign was the brainchild of Howard Schultz, 61, the company’s boss, who has a track record of speaking out about contentious topics, from gay marriage to gun control.His decision came in response to the escalating racial tension that emerged when grand juries failed to indict white police officers involved in the killings of Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner, 43, in Staten Island, New York.
Last year, Schultz travelled to Starbucks branches in the cities most affected by racial tension, including Los Angeles, St Louis, Chicago, New York, Oakland and Seattle.
Mr Schulz met about 2,000 Starbucks staff on the tour, and made contact with the rest of his 200,000 employees – 40 per cent of whom are from ethnic minority backgrounds – via a video address.
‘It’s an emotional issue,’ he said. ‘But it is so vitally important to the country.’
Gleichschaltung, baby! On the other hand, perhaps this is an opportunity for Starbucks’ customers to speak truth to beverage makers. Because reminding young baristas that shoplifting followed by assaulting convenience store clerks followed by trying to grab a policeman’s gun is an emotional issue that deserves greater discussion. As does reminding them selling pirate cigarettes is also rarely a good idea. Another option would be to ask for a cup that doesn’t have “Race Together” on it, or asking for a Sharpie and crossing the slogan out in front of the barista, telling him that I’m for better race relations — who isn’t?! — but just because I’m giving you my money, I’m not giving you the right to hector me. Asking the clerk that beyond handing out pre-printed racialist cups what he’s doing to increase his own tolerance for diversity — including opinions he doesn’t want to hear — would also be fun.
People tend to get nasty, when all they want is a cup of Columbian roast, and you give them your take on Ferguson.
I pictured the only black or Hispanic baristas I have seen in a Starbucks, handing someone change and saying, “you know black lives matter, right?” and then holding their hands up in the air.
The baristas, as pleasant as they may be, can’t write a name accurately on a cup to save their lives. I have been Andrew, Annette, Austin and Audrey. Maybe, Starbucks should start a spelling campaign first, before a race conversation campaign. I might be more receptive to the information if you don’t call me Audrey.
Trust and believe that if I come in at 7am to get some caffeine to keep me motivated and civilized, it is not going to go well if a perky little girl says, “Hey, Audrey did you know that racism is oppressive?” Or maybe they are going to tell ole Audrey here that Martin Luther King, Jr. worked hard to make sure I could buy my $5.55 morning latte at any coffee shop in America.
As Jay Nordlinger of NRO has noted in several posts and articles over the years since Mr. Obama came to power, the number of politics-free “safe zones” is continually shrinking in America. With Starbucks’ ham-handed attempt to make their coffee racist (for racialism is ultimately a form of racism), the circle is that much smaller.
And as for Starbucks management getting off Twitter — well, you asked for a “dialogue,” and you got it. Sorry if it wasn’t you had in mind, but a dialogue implies a two-way street. Perhaps you’ll learn something by this experience.
Ultimately, Morgan Freeman, before he suffered a massive case of Tea Party Derangement Syndrome, had the best suggestion for improving race relations in America:
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Any time the left wants to start, feel free.