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18/03/2015 12:34 GMT | Updated 23/03/2015 10:59 GMT

Starbucks #RaceTogether Racial Inequality Campaign Backfires

UPDATE: Starbucks Ditches #RaceTogether But Insists It's All Part Of The Plan

A bid by coffee giant Starbucks to engage US customers and baristas in positive discussions about race looks to have backfired.

Race Together involves baristas voluntarily scribbling the words on take-away coffee cups and: “Is an opportunity to re-examine how we can create a more empathetic and inclusive society – one conversation at a time,” said CEO Howard Schultz in a statement online.

It comes in the wake of the deaths of unarmed black men Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner, in Staten Island.

starbucks race together

Race Together hopes to engage customers and baristas on conversations about race

The drive, Schultz adds, came because: “We are Starbucks should be willing to talk about these issues in America. Not to point fingers or to place blame, and not because we have answers, but because staying silent is not who we are.”

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No sooner was it launched however, a disdainful internet had hijacked the hashtag and the levels of snark were high…

Some also pointed out the first news release promoting the dialogue featured coffee cups held only by white hands…

While the concept may certainly be considered admirable, Entrepreneur points out: “Putting this immense task on workers, even if it is voluntary, is taxing and unfair. Customers sue restaurants and attack employees over problems as inconsequential as order mix-ups.”

This is going to be one to watch...

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