Starbucks Talks About Race

Photo taken by Roland Tanglao. Creative Commons License:
Photo taken by Roland Tanglao. Creative Commons License:

I am sure most of you have heard by now that Starbucks is advocating that there be a discussion about race in its stores. I like that they think that the topic is worthy of discussion but I worry about how it will all unfold. The topic of racism in America is a layered issue and one that I don’t necessarily want to get into with my local barista. I guess the question would be what does Starbucks hope to accomplish with this initiative? Are we supposed to come away from the discussion with deeper insight into the effects of racism on America? After the discussion is over will Starbucks be generating some kind of plan to help combat racist practices in the U.S. or will we be in the same boat we are now, left with no real solutions and tired from all of the talking?

We have been dialoguing about race in this country forever and in my observation we haven’t gotten very far. I see it daily in the comments I see people make on racial issues in the media. It seems to me that those that experience racism are not the ones that have a problem acknowledging its existence. The conclusion I have drawn is that America likes to talk a whole lot but it doesn’t really want to do anything about the problem. It feels like we just bring the topic up ever so often just so we can say that we are addressing it but in actuality we have no real plan to do anything about it. Like James Brown says, “we are talking loud, but saying nothing.”

Don’t get me wrong, few companies are willing to put themselves out there when it comes to racial issues so I appreciate that Starbucks is willing to do so. My only criticism is that they haven’t sold me on how their discussion will be all that different from other discussions we have had in the past. Their intent is admirable, but it just doesn’t seem like they have prepared a well thought out plan. Racism is a delicate, sensitive issue and if not handled properly, I can see this thing going very wrong.

Afrolatina girl community, what are your thoughts? Please share!


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