Starbucks is at the center of media attention for its campaign called “RaceTogether” created to kick-start a national conversation on race relations.
Many have said that the company is crossing the line though.
The company is trying to weigh in on current U.S. race relations by publishing ads on major newspapers with the words “Shall we Overcome?” at the center of the page and “RaceTogether” near the bottom.
In addition, baristas working at Starbucks were also given the option of writing “Race Together” on the cups of customers.
It was an effort to try and encourage people to stimulate conversation about racial tension in the country, which escalated after an unarmed black 18-year old man was shot by a white policeman in Missouri.
However, some say that the company should not tread on such delicate and controversial territory, stating that the topic should have no place in one of the country’s most popular coffee chains.
— Dina Pomeranz (@dinapomeranz) March 17, 2015
Photos used to promote the campaign appear to only feature white hands.
Starbucks CEO Schultz said in a post on the Starbucks website:
“We at Starbucks should be willing to talk about these issues in America,”
“Not to point fingers or to place blame, and not because we have answers, but because staying silent is not who we are.”
“The Race Together initiative is just beginning,” Starbucks said in a statement on Wednesday.
“We knew this wouldn’t be easy, but we feel it is well worth the discomfort.”
Starbucks executive deactivated his Twitter account because of the backlash
The well intentioned move by Starbucks has become subject to extreme criticism though.
Corey duBrowa, the senior vice president of communications at Starbucks, actually deactivated his Twitter account because of the backlash.
On Medium.com Corey reveled that he temporarily deactivated his Twitter account because he “felt personally attacked in a cascade of negativity” in response to the campaign.
“I got overwhelmed by the volume and tenor of the discussion, and I reacted,” Corey said.
“Most of all, I was concerned about becoming a distraction from the respectful conversation around Race Together that we have been trying to create.”