In what has already become a widely-mocked move on social media, Starbucks on Monday announced an initiative to encourage baristas to strike up conversations with customers about “racial issues” in America.
Part of a new initiative called “Race Together,” the idea came out of “forums” within the company, according to a post on the Starbucks website.
Following the cue of CEO Howard Schultz, the company said it would do its part to encourage constructive dialogue following “racial unrest from Ferguson, Missouri to New York City to Oakland.”
The company said employees all over the country would be asked to start writing the slogan “Race Together” on customers’ cups.
The company also said it will begin encouraging employees to begin “conversations” with customers on the subject of race.
“Baristas in cities where the forums were held said they wanted to do something tangible to encourage greater understanding, empathy and compassion toward one another,” the post read.
“Given their willingness to discuss race relations, many partners wanted to begin conversations with their customers too,” it said.
Fortune reported that 40 percent of Starbucks workers are members of a racial minority. Meanwhile, PayScale listed that self-reported salaries from Starbucks baristas range from $7.63 to $10.93 an hour.
Many on social media responded with more than a dose of cynicism:
— black power alt bro (@vidalwuu) March 17, 2015
The only folks happy about Starbucks baristas discussing race with customers are the suits who run it. Feel-good liberalism at its worst.
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) March 17, 2015
Starbucks is where I go to get what I need so I can have the patience for race convos at work. Please cut the #RaceTogether stuff please
— W.E.B.B.I.E DuBois (@fivefifths) March 17, 2015
“Oh my god.” The CEO shot up in bed. “We don’t subject our workers to enough customer abuse.” pic.twitter.com/83tKFhcM6G
— good opiner (@samknight1) March 17, 2015
Customer: I’ll have a venti light roast…
Race conscious Starbucks barista: Don’t you mean (removes sunglasses) Martin Luther King size?
— Erin Gloria Ryan (@morninggloria) March 17, 2015
starbucks’ collaboration with charles murray on their bell curve caramel frappachino seems ill advised, to say the least
— America’s Ape (@swarthyvillain) March 17, 2015
“Welcome to Starbucks”
“Venti skim cap”
“Can I talk to you for a second about race?”
*eyes dart around*
“I gotta run”
— Ben Dreyfuss (@bendreyfuss) March 17, 2015