Wow. That was fast!! Tonight, Howard Schultz announced an end to Starbucks’ proposed Race Together campaign – less than a week after the plan was announced. The initiative was organized to begin conversations about race and to promote empathy. Now, the initiave is history and a-soon-to-be B-school case study.
As I said in yesterday’s post, corporate execs are not great social change agents. Tough issues are not good for business and company heads will pull the plug when the going gets tough. Welp. Howard Schultz just proved me right. I don’t say that with glee.
Although, I strongly disagreed with the plan, I wanted Starbucks to succeed in some small way. I actually believe companies can support race talk. In fact, DC’s Busboys and Poets’ A.C.T.O.R program (A Continuing Talk On Race) has done just that for years.
Sadly, Race Together failed, in part, because it wasn’t thoughtful or grassroots enough, and it wasn’t ready for prime time. The intentions were good but now it’s over. Race Together has officially been 86ed.