Bleary-eyed, half-awake, feet dragging and shoulders drooped, likely somewhere on the hangover scale, and mentally incapable of summoning an emotion as simple as amusement, let alone as consuming as empathy — this is my state of being as I walk into a Starbucks nine times out of ten. Conversation is low on my list of things I crave before lunch. In fact, conversation isn’t on that list at all. The list actually just goes coffee, and then lunch. Pre-lunch is the worst time of the day.
All of that is to say that having a barista ask me my thoughts on race in America as he or she hands me my coffee sounds like a nightmare. But apparently that’s exactly what Starbucks is now aiming to do, because racial dialogue in America wasn’t stupid enough already, so now the most obnoxious parts of everyone’s Twitter and Facebook feeds get to play out in front of us every morning, and with a Norah Jones soundtrack!
In partnership with USA Today, Starbucks has launched a week-long campaign under the banner “Race Together” to get staff and customers talking about race. In a video message, Schultz urges “partners” to write the phrase on their paper cups “to facilitate a conversation between you and our customers.”
Weren’t the heart palpitations and crazy diarrhea enough? How many different ways do you have to make my day miserable? Keep this going and I will give up and switch back to an Adderall prescription. Depression, anxiety, and appetite loss all seem more tolerable than a fast food worker asking me in public how many times I’ve been in a black guy’s house in the past year. No, really, Starbucks employees are about to start asking you that.
A USA Today supplement, set to be published March 20, includes a number of “conversation starters,” including the fill-in-the-blank question: “In the past year, I have been to the home of someone of a different race ___ times.”
Thank you for the coffee, now can I serve you a hot cup of shut the fuck up?
Who keeps a mental tally of that!?! That is the most liberal-arts-student-who-didn’t-grow-up-around-different-races-and-is-so-desperate-to-seem-progressive-that-they’re-actually-condescending shit I’ve ever heard. There will definitely be plenty of smug, self-anointed “tolerant” white people who are going to write down a number they are WAY too pleased with and then leave it showing out toward the seating area for others to see — along with their shitty Tumblr page. If you know the exact number, or even a ballpark figure, for the amount of times you’ve been in a person of a different race’s home in the past year, you are an asshole, and I hope the cup of coffee you write that number on falls into your lap and burns your crotch like it’s a Ferguson Little Caesar’s.
“Staying silent is not who we are,” chief executive Howard Schultz said at an employee forum in December.
No, serving coffee is who you are. If silence, or at least a pleasant but brief interaction, isn’t an option in that transaction, then believe me when I say I would rather go to a 7/11 and endure the drunk hobo buying another 2×4 can of Busch at 9am crap his pants in the aisle as I pour a cup of their mediocre hot brown caffeinated water than tell some barista how many minority Facebook friends I have, or however else a gentrifying, third-world exploiting, chain coffee shop judges whether or not I am in tune with my racial sensitivity. I would rather my new morning pick-me-up be a kick to the groin than have to deal with this.
Fuck it, I might go into a Starbucks this week and stream interracial porn on my iPhone 6 Plus, or as I like to call it, my hand TV, look at the barista, and ask, “Am I down with other races? You tell me?”
“It is an opportunity to begin to re-examine how we can create a more empathetic and inclusive society,” he said in a press release. “One conversation at a time.”
The only way in which Starbucks fosters a more inclusive society is that it’s sort of like The Borg.
Please just give me my coffee and leave me alone, because guess what? I don’t care about black people that early in the morning. I don’t care about any people, or anything, except the bed behind me, the sandwich in my near future, and the cup of coffee that will get me from A to B.
[via The Washington Post]