“While there has been criticism of the initiative — and I know this hasn’t been easy for any of you — let me assure you that we didn’t expect universal praise,” Schultz said in a memo.
The message was meant to be “just the catalyst” for a broad conversation about race, after a year in which the topic has figured prominently in news headlines and dinner-table conversations across America.
Instead, the announcement of Race Together was a conversation about Starbucks. Was the coffee giant exploiting a very real issue for financial gain? Did you know that 16 of the company’s 19 executives are white? What jokes can we make about this on Twitter?
A Starbucks spokesperson said the Race Together inscriptions were not canceled but instead concluded today “as originally planned.” The move will also have practical implications: As journalists went to Starbucks to try out talking about race, they quickly realized that making conversation with a barista really holds up the line.