Yesha Callahan

Starbucks’ #RaceTogether Proved To Be a Fail on Social Media


Starbucks wants people to have an open discussion about race. But not one that takes place in a conference room or auditorium, but while you’re ordering your daily over-priced coffee. #RaceTogether is the company’s newest campaign that encourages race talk between its baristas and customers.

And if a customer asks you what this is, try and engage in a discussion that we have problems in this country with regard to race and racial inequality, and we believe we’re better than this. And we believe the country is better than this. And if this makes you have a conversation with a customer about the need for compassion, the need for empathy, the need for love towards others, if you can do that with one customer, one day, then you are making a significant difference as we go forward. — Starbucks

Well let’s just say that didn’t go over too well with people on Twitter. #RaceTogether was met with critiques and ridicule and rightfully so.

Clutchettes, would you be willing to discuss race with your barista?

Image Credits: Starbucks

  1. March 18, 2015 - Reply

    I think Jay Smooth said it best when he suggested that meaningful support for changing racial inequality would involve supporting concrete programs instead of encouraging baristas to talk about race.

  2. March 18, 2015 - Reply

    “It’s worth the discomfort”.

    That phrase says it all. Khaled Bey’s tweet is a good response.

    Wagatwe Wanjuki and Nerdy Wonka both read the daylights out of Starbucks.

    It is hilarious that it appears as if little to no people of other races contributed to this campaign prior to its launch.

    Now Starbucks will hire an entire “diversity team” to fix racism. Common will be their celebrity spokesperson.

    • March 18, 2015 - Reply


      You said: “Common will be their celebrity spokesperson.”

      LOL. I know you wrong, but you’re right on this issue.

      Wagatwe Wanjuki and Nerdy Wonka made excellent, witty comments about this issue. Fundamentally, programs must be established, structural changes must occur, economically fair policies ought to exist internationally, and other radical changes are needed to fight back against racism for real.

  3. March 19, 2015 - Reply

    I am tired of Black people having to bear the role of “Educating Negro/a” for white folks and for non-Black POC, when a simple race-related question can be answer by a Google search.
    In this country, we have researchers using the internet to gather up information about studies and TRUSTING the info that was provided. However, when it comes to learning about the racist tones that are embedded in the “FLOTUS being compared to an ape/gorrilla/monkey”, they do not trust the info that was provided from Google. Or, there wasn’t any “good info” provided.
    I am also tired of being told to give white folks (and non-Black POC) props for their mediocrity, when it comes to educating themselves, as well (for example, verbally acknowledging their privileges, white supremacy, etc.).

  4. March 19, 2015 - Reply

    I can’t believe someone thought this was a good idea. What makes them think the barista is educated enough to have a discussion without completely sticking their foot in their face or perpetuating the problem? What makes them think that customers wont come in and be dicks to the barista? so much wrong

  5. March 19, 2015 - Reply

    Obviously this was a distasteful marketing move. But I don’t get all the high price coffee bashing. I will continue to pay $2.12 for my tall dark roast. Starbucks insures their employees, has tuition assistance program, wages are well over the minimum wage, health conscious, environment conscious, attempts at fair trade far more than their competitors and has free WiFi. So my $2.12 stretches a long way.
    Yet people wanna go to dunkin’ donuts or another competitor for cheap coffee and it offers none of the above.

  6. March 20, 2015 - Reply

    These corporations need to stop with the hashtags. They get mocked every time they act like they care.

  7. March 22, 2015 - Reply

    This is just my two cents i don’t see how you can get the baristas to engage their customers in a conversation about race, when many white Americans don’t even want to acknowledge there is racism in America. I would think it would be daunting for those baristas to keep those orders straight for who wanted a caramel mocchiato and a vente. And then talk about race talk. In theory it sounded good. Barrista’s may not be the people to facilitate conversations about race talk. Maybe this was not such a good idea. This was risky to say the least.

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