Search This Blog

Friday, March 20, 2015

Starbucks "race" conversation may provide an opening...

Do not use without permission.
It cost me $4 to discuss "race" at Starbucks!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I went to Starbucks today to discuss "race" over a mocha. It cost me just over four bucks, but I had to ask for a cup with "race together" on it because they had discontinued their promotion a few days ago. I live in Marietta, Ga.

"We stopped the campaign because someone shouted at an employee, saying she didn't want us to write 'race together' on her cup," said a female barista. The manager was not available for comment because she had "gone to lunch."

"Race is still a sensitive issue in corporate America," said a friend of mine who is an attorney. "No one discusses race unless HR is involved or high level executives who have been guided by HR and their legal department."

Disappointed, I took my cup and looked for a seat.  "Can I sit here?" I said. "Yes, please do," said a young woman with a laptop who turned out to be Jody Foster, founder of Symphony Consulting LLC. The main topic we discussed was economics/employment being the root cause of racial disparities in the U.S.

Foster said she didn't see why anyone would be upset about the Starbucks campaign to increase the dialogue about race. She hadn't heard about the black man being hanged in Mississippi or the black college student being beaten up by ABC officials in Virginia. She grew up in New York and Chicago and said she didn't understand why neighborhoods were so segregated there when compared to neighborhoods in Atlanta.

We talked about race and religion for about 35 minutes, she gave me her card, and said her company was seeking people who were hard workers, knew how to show up on time and dress for success, and young folks whose parents didn't get involved with their children's fledgling careers.

I told her I would have my daughter forward her resume immediately... maybe we will be able to race together.


  1. Christy R., Starbucks customer service says:
    Dear Tomi,
    I just finished reading your email and appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with us. I'm sorry that you're disappointed. Our intent is to invite people to have a conversation and give them a platform to participate. Conversation has the power to change hearts and minds, and we hope this initiative will help lead to solutions to bring our country together.
    You can join this conversation by using the hashtag #RaceTogether and learn more at
    If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

  2. E. Smith says:
    That was a very interesting story with some valid points.


Please leave a comment or email your comments to