Wat vinden de werknemers van Starbucks van #RaceTogether?

2012-12-03 11:36:30 epa03495101 A customer sits inside a Starbucks cafe in London, Britain, 03 December 2012. Media reports on 03 December state that U.S. coffee shop chain Starbucks is considering changing the way it operates in Britain so that it will pay corporation tax in the UK - after having legally avoided paying corporation tax in the UK over the last decade and more. EPA/ANDY RAIN Foto EPA / Andy Rain

In de Starbucks moet je praten over racisme. Tenminste, dat vindt Starbucks-CEO Howard Schultz. #RaceTogether staat er in Amerika ineens op het bekertje van je Caffè Latte. Maar weinig mensen zitten te wachten op een serieus gesprek met de barista, zo blijkt.

Of het Amerikaanse initiatief ook overwaait naar Nederland is niet duidelijk. Starbucks was gisteren de hele dag niet bereikbaar voor commentaar.

Vanmorgen kwam er dan eindelijk nog een officiële reactie vanuit Starbucks: “We are starting this national conversation in the U.S. and will see where it leads us. Our learnings will form the backbone of the future of Race Together and ways that we can continue to foster discussions that are of importance to us all.” Nog geen #RaceTogether in Nederland dus, voor nu.

Een filiaalmanager moet lachen bij het horen van de vraag: “Nee nee, dat doen we niet, ik heb in ieder geval nog geen opdracht gekregen vanuit het hoofdkantoor.”

Business Insider zocht uit wat Amerikaanse Starbucksbarista’s van het initiatief vinden. 

Business Insider

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced on Monday that his company’s latest initiative would be “Race Together.”

By the end of this week, most Starbucks locations across the US will display pamphlets on race relations. Baristas will also be encouraged, but not required, to write “race together” on coffee cups and engage in discussions with customers who ask about it.

“Racial diversity is the story of America, our triumphs as well as our faults,” Schultz wrote. “Yet racial inequality is not a topic we readily discuss. It’s time to start.”

The #RaceTogether trending topic on Twitter quickly became flooded with critics of the campaign, and were often so harsh that Starbucks’ senior vice president of communications, Corey duBrowa, deleted his Twitter account for a few hours. He’s since re-enabled it.

To find out what Starbucks employees had to say about the controversial campaign, we visited seven locations in New York’s Manhattan. Three employees agreed to share their opinions and asked to be kept anonymous because they didn’t have official permission from the company to speak to media. Here’s what they said:

Schultz is a role model.

“I grew up around here,” said a 22-year-old Latino male employee, who was making drinks. “People judge you on what neighborhood you came from, where you went to school, what you look like… Race is a difficult topic.

“We had a lot of bad role models growing up. It’s great that we have Howard Schultz as our CEO giving us this opportunity to talk about the issue, and that he gives people like us jobs.”

Regarding critics of the campaign, he said: “They’re not being real with themselves. This is a real issue. I happen to be very open to talking about it.”

The campaign is misguided.

“I really don’t agree with it,” said a 28-year-old black female employee, who was working at the cash register. “I mean, I just don’t think it’s going to change anything… We’re encouraged to participate but can opt out if we want to. Customers can opt out [of getting a message on their cups], too.”

It may be too ambitious, but it’s important.

“Race relations is something we should all be aware of,” a 21-year-old black female employee said. She was at the cash register with a roll of campaign stickers and wearing a Race Together badge. “I’d like to talk about race issues with everyone for hours, but I don’t have time. I have to work! But yeah, if a customer asks me a question, I’ll talk.”

None of the employees we spoke with said they’ve had a conversation with customers on race relations yet, but campaign materials have yet to roll out to the majority of locations.

Starbucks spokesperson Linda Mills told USA Today, which is a partner with Starbucks on the campaign, that they expected it to be a controversial initiative. “We knew it wouldn’t be easy — and we knew there would be criticism. But the conversation on race and America is too important. We can’t just be silent bystanders. We, as a company, have never stayed silent before.”

    • Marieke ten Katen
    • Richard Feloni