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Now this isn’t necessarily a news story that deserved a headline or anything but I want to spend a little bit of time addressing the fact that Starbucks has recently started a new campaign effort to spark up intellectual debacles on the topics of political and social justice regarding race relations in America today. Apparently many people have backlashed against the company claiming that a coffee shop is not the time nor the place. Most people just wanna grab their morning coffee and get out there in a jiffy.
It was announced March 20, 2015 and a day later millions of customers had taken to Twitter to write nasty comments about how ridiculous the CEO Howard Schultz is for coming up with this idea. Well let me tell you, I want to weigh in on this one. I consider this a valiant effort on behalf of Starbucks. It could have greatly effected their revenue and their stock shares at NASDAQ if people had been more offended by this. You know, what’s so wrong about wanting to use your company as a platform to bridge a subject that many in America are too afraid to discuss.
If you a Caucasian person you would never in a million years approach an African-American individual off the street to randomly ask their opinion on Ferguson case or the Zimmerman trial. I know I wouldn’t dare to do something so dangerous. It would seem as if I’m singling them out because of their race. But in the most technical sense, that’s exactly what I would be doing! So if those are the conditions we face out there in the real world, how else are we going to have this conversation? Starbucks is throwing us a life line. Under no other circumstances would you be able to engage your fellow pedestrians in a conversation like this, until now!
You know, whenever I’m in a coffee shop. Whether it be Starbucks or anywhere else, that place is packed to the brim. People sit in those places for hours with their laptops working on epic screenplays, getting ready to send them off to James Cameron. I’ve stayed up to three hours in a coffee shop before. Mind you, the one I was in had a gorgeous couch that I could practically fall asleep in but that’s beside the point.
The point is that the coffee shop, for many people, is the perfect place to have an open dialogue on a wide range of topics. Race relations could be one of them. You have the right to not engage, it’s a free country. The baristas aren’t going to attack you with questions and start citing articles and news stories. Many people have twisted this story and claimed that the baristas were going to actively try to conversate you but truthfully all they wanna do is write a couple words on your cup, the rest is up to you.
The big question your probably asking yourself is, why? What’s the point. The point, in my personal opinion, is that we can actually get everyday ordinary citizens actively shifting the over arcing conscious of their fellow Americans. What if you do have a life changing conversation at a coffee shop on a Monday morning on your way to work? Can that one person go and spread her new found love of equality and justice to three more people? How about five people? And can’t, in theory, those five people effect the lives of five more people?
Howard Schultz may have stumbled upon a movement. I’m not saying that it’s going to be Starbucks alone who deserves the credit. But Martin Luther King & Malcolm X had to die as martyrs for their cause before America was ready to wake up from it’s prejudice blanket that it had too long been trapped under. Those two great leaders aren’t solely responsible for everything that’s happened since they took to the podiums. But they started a national dialogue. They got people to rally. They got people to march. If Starbucks can capture a fraction of the magic that the 1960s civil rights movement had, then I say, what’s the harm? So gulp a mocha latte, you might just change the world.
Despite everything I just said, Howard Schultz, after getting a lot of attack from the press for his new initiative decided to end “Race Together” after only a week. Thank you America, you beautiful ugly beast.