Baristas at 12,000 Starbucks locations were given the task of starting conversations with customers about race relations this week. They’re being asked to write #RaceTogether on a customer’s coffee cup to spark a discussion.
CEO Howard Schultz says the campaign was inspired by a company forum in December. Fortune reports 40 percent of Starbucks’ nearly 200,000 employees are part of a racial minority group.
Reception to the campaign has been overwhelmingly negative, with some critics writing articles disdaining the strategy and many more taking to social media:
In addition to being berated for racism whenever you open Twitter or turn on theTV, now it can happen when you buy a coffee! #RaceTogether
— Kevin Eder (@keder) March 17, 2015
“Excuse me sir we no longer refer to them as black & white cookies. They are equality cookies.” pic.twitter.com/3j3AzPfLF5