Race Away From Starbucks


Blog will return to the issue of junk food but interrupts to deal with another piece of junk, Starbucks’ ridiculous attempt to cash in on the pain and suffering of African Americans in the United States.

Here are my objections to the campaign and Starbucks in general.

  • The company’s cynical co-opting began with its name. The Starbuck family killed whales for decades. The logo of a mermaid/figurehead whitewashes all that.
  • Shouldn’t we call it “the company formerly known as Starbucks” since it no longer includes a name on its logo and advertising?
  • As for the race conversation, the idea is about as tone deaf as one can get. The multiple reactions show exactly how bad. My favorite, aside from the jokes about renaming the coffee, (“I’ll have mine of color”) etc. was Gwen Ifil’s tweet: “honest to God, if you start to engage me in a race conversation before I’ve had my morning coffee, it will not end well.” I say amen.
  • Aside from the snark, LinkedIn offers a serious examination of the reasons for failure:
  • That the marketing people failed to acknowledge the “privilege” of Starbucks drinkers, in many places “white privilege,” probably has to do with the utter lack of anyone on staff who could draw their attention to the problem.
  • What the authors call “authenticity deficit,” means the employees are as headblind as the honchos.
  • The “poor reaction” is a massive understatement, but the lack of company response indicates more headblind tone-deafness.

My opinion: Avoid the burnt, overpriced beverage. If no place nearby offers caffeine, go to the figurehead’s lair and order tea. Even she can only mess up hot water and a tea bag by not getting the water hot enough. It still tastes better than mermaid water.

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