Starbucks Abandons "Race Together" Initiative

Starbucks Race TogetherAfter heated criticism, Starbucks will end the company's attempt to discuss race at its stores. As part of the initiative, baristas were encouraged to write "Race Together" on customers' cups. 

People didn't react well, pointing to the company's lack of diversity in its own management team and questioning the authenticity of the initiative.

   SB race

Comments were so harsh that Starbucks' head of communications deleted his Twitter page, which caused another round of criticism. 

In a letter to Starbucks partners, Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz wrote,

"This phase of the effort -- writing "Race Together" (or placing stickers) on cups, which was always just the catalyst for a much broader and longer term conversation -- will be completed as originally planned today, March 22."  

However, according to a New York Times article, the date hadn't been announced before now. 

Schultz also wrote, 

"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. The heart of Race Together has always been about humanity: the promise of the American Dream should be available to every person in this country, not just a select few.  We leaned in because we believed that starting this dialogue is what matters most.  We are learning a lot. And will always aim high in our efforts to make a difference on the issues that matter most."  

Discussion Starters: 

  • What's your view of the initial campaign?
  • Read Schultz's statement. Does it sound sincere?
  • Was ending the campaign the right decision?