I’m not a coffee drinker. In fact, I’ve only had one cup of coffee in my entire life. I was about ten years old. It was at my grandparents’ house during a family get together. There was a cup of coffee on the table. I picked it up and took a gulp. Big mistake. Somebody had put a cigarette out in it. I can still taste it.
My wife knows that if she wants to keep ice cream in the house she needs to buy coffee ice cream.
Even so, I know about Starbucks. They are everywhere . . . except it seems in many majority black cities and neighborhoods.
You are surely aware of the “Race Together” campaign sponsored by Starbucks. When I first heard it I wondered how it was going to work if people who were buying their overpriced caffeine fixes really wanted to talk about race. I’m sure the people standing in line and at the drive through would love to listen in on a 30-minute discussion as they’re checking their new Apple watches for the time. Sure they would.
It’s like people who ask how you’re doing. Do they really want to know? Not really.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar had this to say on the subject, but as we’ll see there’s the “rest of the story” that the mainstream media are not reporting:
“Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s bold decision to encourage his baristas to discuss race relations with willing customers has filled me with shock and awe. I’m in awe of his courageous and good-hearted attempt to do something to bring about better awareness of racism. I’m in awe that he’s willing to put morality above profits. I’m in awe that he’s willing to endure the snarky ridicule and lame coffee jokes from pundits as well as the inevitable death threats from clueless trolls. All with nothing personally or corporately to gain — and a lot to lose.”
Talk is cheap. It’s actions that matter, what a person does based on what he says, otherwise he’s a hypocrite.
Writing “Race Together” on coffee cups may have had good intentions, but it won’t fix a thing.
Read more: “Why Charity Can be a Bad Thing.”
If Starbucks is really serious about Racing Together, the company might think about building some Starbuck Coffee Houses in majority black neighborhoods.
Jen Kuznicki at CNSNews writes:
“If Starbucks wants us to talk about race, let’s start with why they don’t have Starbucks Coffee Houses in some of America’s cities that are mostly black, or have had a racially charged history?
“My friend looked up various cities, and found that there are no Starbucks Coffee Houses in many of them.
“Places like Highland Park, Michigan, which is at the center of Detroit, is inhabited by a population that is 94 percent African-American. Or in Benton Harbor, Michigan, which is almost 90 percent African-American. There is not a Starbucks in either town.
“The recent remembrance of the march on Selma, Alabama had the president walking down the street with many people who fought for civil rights, but once again, Selma doesn’t have a Starbucks. Neither does Ferguson, Missouri.”
If Starbucks really wants to help blacks, then the company needs to set up shop in these cities and institute training programs for blacks teaching job skills and how to run a business.
Howard Schultz might want to take a look at what venture capitalist Catherine Hoke, founder and CEO of Defy Ventures, is doing. Defy Ventures “teaches ex-prisoners how to start a business—then incubates and finances those businesses.” She explains how Defy Ventures helps participants in the program become successful:
“Fifty percent of our effort is in soft skills, transformational training and personal development. We’re not just making entrepreneurs but also great, committed parents, employees and community leaders. We have 10 hours of training taught by an Emily Post Institute-certified instructor, everything from how to shake a hand to how to tie a tie to a two-hour formal dining course and how to properly write a thank-you note after a job interview.”1
Starbucks has billions of dollars in profits. Surely the company could do something like this. If Defy Ventures can do great things with ex-convicts, surely Starbucks can do the same with non-criminals.
Talk is cheap.
- Delta Sky Magazine (December 2014), 34, 37. [↩]