Starbucks steps into conversation about race

Mar 18, 2015 11:59 AM by KGW

Starbucks has made a name for itself by brewing up delicious coffee. Now the coffee giant is trying something new.

CEO Howard Schultz is encouraging customers and employees to discuss race.

"I know this is an emotional issue, but it's so important to the country and we're so much better as a people than we're showing off in cities across America," Schultz said in a video message announcing the new campaign.

Poll results are no longer available.

In the next few days baristas at 12,000 Starbucks locations will initiate the race conversation by writing "Race Together" on customer cups.

Right or wrong, sociologist Randy Blazak calls what Starbucks is doing courageous, risking profits to take on a big issue.

"I think the events of the last six months show us how deep the problem of racism is and how it persists in our society, and lack of dealing with it makes the problem worse," he says.

According to Starbucks' CEO, baristas don't have to take part in the conversations if they don't feel comfortable.

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