Good job, everyone. Let's pack it up and go home.
He had a dream, but his was dumb. (Getty)
Less than a week after Starbucks debuted its #RaceTogether campaign, CEO Howard Schultz has officially pulled the plug. Certain parts of the program, like online forums and inserts in USA Today, will continue, but Starbucks baristas have been instructed to stop writing #RaceTogether on customers' cups, which they hadn't really been doing anyway.
Schutlz's idea was to start real conversations about race inside Starbucks. Baristas would write the hashtag on a customer's cup to indicate that they were open to a dialogue. Then the two strangers would bare their souls about how racism had affected them, presumably within the 25-30 seconds before the rest of the line started shouting at them to hurry up. I wonder where that went wrong?
The campaign did at least get a dialogue going on Twitter, though it probably wasn't the one Starbucks wanted:
Really mad at this Starbucks employee who wrote #RaceTogether on my croissant.
— Julius Sharpe (@juliussharpe) March 20, 2015
BY ANY BEANS NECESSARY! #NewStarbucksDrinks
— John Muller (@mrjohnmuller) March 17, 2015
. #RaceTogether should matter to @Starbucks : Coffee and sugar were 2 of the 3 drugs (w/tobacco) that started this mess in the first place.
— Greg Carr (@AfricanaCarr) March 17, 2015
CNN: Starbucks ends #racetogether campaign, blames Puerto Ricans.
— Neal Brennan (@nealbrennan) March 23, 2015
#RaceTogether is what happens when a 1%-er without any actual anti-racist education or training has a mid-life "white man's burden" crisis.
— Crystal Fleming (@alwaystheself) March 17, 2015
Even though everyone saw this coming, it is a little sad. The program was supposed to last a year, and didn't make it through the first week. Howard Schultz means well, he just clearly has never stepped inside a Starbucks without having a PR team do a sweep of it first to protect him from reality. Hopefully his next idealistic scheme will work better. My suggestion: start a conversation about obesity on the cups for those 500-calorie Frappuccinos.