Three months ago, at an internal meeting with Starbucks employees, a powerful discussion about race in America sparked the idea for Starbucks’ new campaign, “Race Together,” encouraging coffee drinkers and baristas all around the country to tackle the polarizing topic of race. But while CEO Howard Shultz stresses that “’Race Together’ is an opportunity to re-examine how we can create a more empathetic and inclusive society,” caffeine junkies continuously mock and put down this odd campaign.
Julia Chabot’s (12) opinion is that “I go to Starbucks in the mornings, so I can be awake for class. The last thing I want is to debate with the barista about racial inequality before I’m even conscious.” It turns out that several people, many other Mustangs included, feel the same way; talking about racism is just exhausting.
In fact, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, conducted a series of experiments to better understand why people find these interactions to be so mentally draining. Simply enough, censoring one’s self for fear of offending is tiring. Thus, people tend to avoid such topics, as they are extremely concerned about appearing prejudiced. However, the solution to prejudice reduction is not to shy away from these conversations deemed uncomfortable, but to embrace them; people are less likely to feel anxious about race the more they discuss it.
As stated by Linda Mills, a Starbucks spokeswoman, Race Together was not about “demanding change,” but to “bridge the divide to empathy.” It’s important to become aware and engage in conversation about problems we have in this country regarding race and racial inequality. It is only through knowledge and awareness that changes in the world can be made for the better.
Starbucks’ “Race Together” campaign was ended on March 22nd after widespread criticism of the effort. Starbucks claimed that it was originally supposed to end on that date, but it’s obvious that Starbucks buckled under the public pressure. Should Starbucks have bended to the public will?