Way, way back in the deepest mists of history, circa March 2015, the Starbucks Corporation rolled out an initiative they called “Race Together.” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, concerned about the racial divide in America, instructed baristas to scribble the thought-provoking phrase “Race Together” on customers’ cups as a way to “foster discussion.” Because that’s exactly what you want when you’re waiting in line for an overpriced cup of coffee that tastes like it was filtered through a hobo’s liver. You want a lecture about what a racist you are.
Starbucks even gave us all some homework to do, in the form of an insert in USA Today:
— Jim Treacher is a dumb pseudonym (@jtLOL) March 21, 2015
This was a ______ idea.
I’ve been reliably informed that only racists say things like, “Don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are [fill in the blank],” so it was very strange for Starbucks to set a quota. (If you’re wondering, I failed the quiz entirely because I don’t have any friends and I never talk to anybody.*)
After a solid week of razzing back in March 2015, Starbucks put the kibosh on the whole thing. It was a silly but well-meaning effort to do something about a problem that can’t be solved by writing words on coffee cups. So they stopped, and the baristas went back to misspelling your name on your cup, and America found other stuff to freak out about.
Until now! Look at what happened in a Starbucks in Philadelphia last week:
@Starbucks The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing. All the other white ppl are wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing. pic.twitter.com/0U4Pzs55Ci
— Melissa DePino (@missydepino) April 12, 2018
Two African-American guys said they were just waiting for a friend before ordering anything. The manager called the cops, and the two men were arrested.
I’m really confused about whom to believe here. The other customers claim that the two men did nothing wrong. But those other customers are… white. Am I really supposed to take the word of some white folks? You know how those people are.
The manager who called the cops is also white, and a woman. Therefore, this incident proves she’s a racist, but it doesn’t prove that the people who are angry about it are sexist. She’s not the victim here, even though women are traditionally assumed to be the victims in any dispute. Racism trumps sexism every time. That’s why Obama beat Hillary, but Hillary couldn’t beat Trump.
Seriously, though, it does seem like an overreaction to call the cops on those guys. Maybe that manager really is a racist. Or maybe it’s all a big misunderstanding. I don’t remember ever hearing about a white dude getting arrested for loitering at Starbucks. But then, if that did happen, it wouldn’t make national news because there’s no racism angle.
So now, of course, everybody wants to #BoycottStarbucks. And they’re doing it #ByAnyMeansNecessary.
— Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting) April 14, 2018
Okay, kids. I guess you gotta boycott something this week. Might as well make it Starbucks. I #BoycottStarbucks every day already, because their coffee tastes like burnt buttholes. Glad to help.
I hope this fiasco proves instructive to Howard Schultz and everybody else at Starbucks. No matter how liberal you are, no matter how hard you work to establish and maintain your #woke credentials, all it takes is one slip-up. Just one viral video, taken on one of the cameras that we all carry now, and the angry mob will descend on you. Nothing you do or say will appease them. No apology will be sufficient. You can’t grovel low enough.
All you can do is hunker down and wait for the outrage swarm to move to another target. Fortunately, it’s 2018, and we all have the attention span of– Whoa, did you see that video of Beyonce at Coachella?
*If you weren’t wondering, that’s okay too.