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The 10 Starbucks questions about race that everyone doesn't want to talk about

Would you want to talk about these 10 questions over coffee?

The 10 Starbucks questions about race that everyone doesn't want to talk about
We at 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. ... [I]t is an opportunity to begin to re-examine how we can create a more empathetic and inclusive society — one conversation at a time." — Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

In the winter of 2015, Starbucks launched a campaign called #RaceTogether.

They hoped it would help to build a more open dialogue about racial tensions in the United States.


So why did #RaceTogether draw so much anger and confusion?

You decide.

Here are the questions that were suggested to baristas:

My parents had __ friends of a different race.

I have __ friends of a different race.

My children have __ friends of a different race.

__ members of a different race live on my block or apartment building.

I most often talk to someone of another race:

__ at work

__ at church

__ at home

__ shopping

__ at school

In my Facebook stream, __% are of a different race.


In the past year, I have been to the home of someone of a different race __ times.

In the past year, someone of a different race has been in my home __ times.

At work, we have managers of __ different races.

In the past year, I have eaten a meal with someone of a different race __ times.

What do you think?

Was Starbucks setting a good example or just ignoring the larger nonconversation-based systems that keep racism alive and as problematic as ever?

Here's what some folks on the street in NYC have to say:

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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