Starbucks Race TogetherStarbucks started the “Race Together” campaign on Monday, which means that sometime in the near future you, dear reader, might be engaged in a really awkward conversation with a barista.

The company said on its website that events have already been held in Oakland, Los Angeles, St. Louis, New York and Chicago, but that baristas can also use the campaign as an opportunity “to begin to re-examine how we can create a more empathetic and inclusive society — one conversation at a time.”

Here’s what one Starbucks partner said at a recent event:

“The current state of racism in our country is almost like humidity at times. You can’t see it, but you feel it.”

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said baristas don’t have to start such conversations with customers if they don’t feel comfortable, but what about the customer? When I order a hot chocolate, why should I have to be asked to comment on the assertion that racism is “like humidity” in America?

The funny thing is, there is a good chance that any young Starbucks employee who starts lecturing customers will have his or her race-mosaic influenced by rapper Azealia Banks, who said in this month’s Playboy that she always talks about the issue because “y’all motherf***ers still owe me reparations!”

Here’s more from her interview, courtesy of US Weekly:

“I hate everything about this country. Like, I hate fat white Americans. All the people who are crunched into the middle of America, the real fat and meat of America, are these racist conservative white people who live on their farms. Those little teenage girls who work at Kmart and have a racist grandma — that’s really America.”

It’s good to know that the rapper who became a millionaire in the United States “hates” the country that made her rich and that she “hates” the people who put food on her table, but I digress.

Azealia Banks 212The point is that the conversation Starbucks wants to have with its customers is a one-way street. Want proof? Its senior vice president of communications, Corey duBrowa, deleted his Twitter account the moment backlash started coming his way.

Business Insider reported Tuesday:

“I was personally attacked through my Twitter account around midnight last night and the tweets represented a distraction from the respectful conversation we are trying to start around Race Together,” duBrowa said. “I’ll be back on Twitter soon.”

Welcome to Twitter, Mr. Starbucks Vice President of Communications. Indeed, if you tell loyal customers that they may be prompted to talk about how allegedly racist the U.S. is — when all they wanted was a hot beverage on a cold morning — then you might get angry feedback. Just a thought.

The idea that the U.S. needs to have a conversation on race is laughable because, quite frankly, it’s the conversation that never ends.

Perhaps Starbucks should just give Azealia Banks her “reparations” so she can find something else to complain about. If that’s too much money, then perhaps an extended trip to territory controlled by Boko Haram will do. My guess is that Ms. Banks will spend one day as a sex slave before her perception of white farmers changes.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

5 comments

  1. Wow. Ms. Banks sounds like such a delightful young lady.

    “The real fat and meat of America, are these racist conservative white people who live on their farms.” Seriously? Gimme a break, if you’re going to make a generalization, at least make it close to reality. Honestly, if a White, Asian, Hispanic, etc. person said they hated this country, that they hated “fat white Americans,” they would be crucified. But no, she’s an edgy, fierce black female rapper so she gets off the hook.

    The rest of her interview is even worse.

    “Well, you got handed down your grandfather’s estate and you got to keep your grandmother’s diamonds and pearls and s—.” Honestly, Ms. Banks, if you truly believe this is true, then you are naive beyond comprehension.

    “The white man gave you the vote. He Christianized you and taught you how to speak English. If it weren’t for him, you’d still be living in a hut.” That’s not what my history books taught me. My books made sure we learned of the inspirational actions of black men such as MLK, Thurgood Marshall, and Frederick Douglass. The Scottsboro boys? The Harlem Hellfighters? The NAACP? Rosa Parks? The history and heroics of African-Americans are very well-documented in textbooks today, and will be for a while.

    “Young black kids should have their own special curriculum that doesn’t start from the boat ride over from Africa. All you know as a black kid is we came over here on a boat, we didn’t have anything, and we still don’t have anything.” I’m sorry, Ms. Banks, are you referring to the importation of African slaves to North America that occurred several centuries ago? Are you blaming that centuries-old occurrence on the status quo today. By anything, I guess you don’t mean material wealth (something you are well familiar with), civil rights and liberties hard fought for and gained, and the wealth of opportunity available today to those who seize it? Honestly, she’s spitting on the achievements of the Civil Right Movement, from those attained at the Supreme Court to the small gains made by college students.

    1. Great response, Zach.

      America is such a great country that a hate-filled person like Ms. Banks can turn into a millionaire for rapping gibberish to a catchy beat. No manual labor required! How awesome is that? But as her material success shows, no amount of money can make a person truly happy, especially if that person has a hard heart.

    2. It’s a good thing I go to Caribou Coffee and not Starbuck’s. I don’t go to a coffee shop to talk about race; I go there to have a nice warm beverage and maybe a donut or a cookie.

    3. There used to be a Caribou Coffee near me when I lived in DC. I did enjoy it quite a bit. It was less busy than Starbucks and it had a nicer atmosphere, in my opinion. I think it closed. There seemed to be a Starbucks on every block…

  2. Sometimes good intentions just don’t work. This is something that needs to come naturally rather than be forced making policy and rules only creates more segregation. The kicker is this should all be simple, we are all people so let’s act like it.
    Problem solved.
    Unfortunately there is too much to gain by using the issue as a promotional tool and I find that sad.

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