Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Posturing #RaceTogether Kicks Itself

Starbucks presently has a corporate social responsibility campaign that is supposed to get baristas to talk about race to their customers.

The hashtag is #RaceTogether and loads of people are using it on Twitter to call out the inequities within the company and express disgust that lecturing is the goal here instead of making changes to corporate social issues. It's the definition of a PR nightmare and, as a socially conscious person trained in public relations, I am dumbfounded that people thought this was a good idea.

This campaign reads as posturing, as a deflection of social responsibility like: See, we do care. We're talking about it! People aren't buying it, myself included. It's also fueling racist discourse, an easily projected outcome, but there is no apparent crisis communications mechanism in place to address it. Race Together just appears to be this apolitical, fuzzy wuzzy PR campaign, which is counter-productive and self-serving.

Here are some of my favorite Tweets in this discussion. I love to see the public take control of something so misguided and use it to highlight the core issues. Look at all the engagement these Tweets have received. THIS is awareness. We can all use social media to empower ourselves and demand change. It's a great start and a valuable tool.


  1. Is this just Starbucks in Canada? The states? Or the Entire World?

    1. I haven't seen it, so I don't know if it's specific to the US or what.