When you think about Starbucks, do you think about coffee or political discussion?
(Me? I think of the 20 oz Cool Lime Refresher they're about to serve me, along with the $2 cake pop that's gone within a second. I also think of Starbucks as a place where getting a seat is a miracle if you can get the gadabouts and their laptops out of the way.)
Starbucks caters to the upper class. It is not Dunkin' Donuts, where $10 gets you three coffees and a box of donuts that have been out perhaps longer than this morning. I'm a Dunkin's guy. The people I order from almost always get it right (because all I get is a chocolate milk or an iced tea, and a donut or a muffin). At Starbucks, $10 gets you some kind of fancy coffee, a pastry that's been out longer than a parolee, and music that only encourages people to spread out their space.
And up until a few days ago, a twee, superficial, lazy soundbite about race.
I don't like being preached to by a company that says one thing and does another, which is why their overbearing attempt to discuss race failed miserably. You cannot hashtag your way to action if your own side of the fence is full of muck you don't want people seeing.
How racially and culturally diverse is the upper-level management structure? Oh, have you tried our thirteen syllable, nine ingredient 60oz drink yet? Who gets the money from fair trade - the workers or the company? Here's one of our new fudge pops with our own Madagascar chocolate!
You can only dodge and weave so much until the other boxer connects with such force your nose is touching your earlobe.
The discussion about race is futile and superficial coming from a company that's virtually all white, serves an upscale clientele, and sees opening a store in a non-white area as an experiment in whether they'll drink the coffee, hang outside and panhandle, harass customers, and then tell shareholders, "well, we tried, it failed, let them put in a fast food place where all the non-whites get fat and someone else with a nag complex gets on their ass to lose weight."
(Not in those exact words, of course. They'll cover that those honest thoughts in buzzwords before the end of this sentence.)
The real discussion on race doesn't come from buzzwords or propaganda. It comes when both sides see good things about each other and help each other succeed without interference. It's when one side drops its stereotypes about the other. It's when people stop flinging money and resources when it's not wanted and where it doesn't work. And most importantly, it's when both sides reject the fringe and noise from the extremes and work from the middle out.
Starbucks' CEO states that "this discussion isn't over." As far as I'm concerned, there was never a discussion - just a bunch of baristas doodling nothing on their customer's cups. Maybe they should leave the cups for the contents so people don't accidentally get hi-test espresso when they're supposed to be drinking decaf.