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March 18, 2015
Starbucks' CEO Trying to be Helpful on Race Relations
 
A cup of coffee at hand, we need to call attention to an effort to help improve the nation’s ability to talk about, and improve, race relations, as prompted by Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, under the heading “Race Together”. Baristas are supposed to write the phrase on coffee cups and, when it feels right, talk about race with customers.

Schultz, notes Steven Gray on takepart.com, is trying to encourage “a more empathetic and inclusive society – one conversation at a time.” So how’s it going? Gray asked a barista at a Manhattan Starbucks what she thought of her CEO's initiative, and she replied that she wasn’t “comfortable talking about race. So we’ll just see how it works out.”

Indeed, it’s a problematic initiative, but still a praiseworthy one. Maybe if Starbucks employees simply answer/explain that “We’re just trying to be helpful on a tough problem facing our country,”  that would be enough. We can all try to be similarly helpful.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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