By John W. Lillpop
With all due respect to Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO, the notion that baristas in his employ should prod barely awake coffee addicts into riveting conversations about race is NOT good business, nor is it particularly patriotic!
Especially at 5 bells in the AM!
Like many other Americans, I feel overwhelmed by the ubiquitous harangues about race and racism. Which is not to say that racial discrimination does need not to be intelligently addressed and eradicated.
There is no doubt that American history is replete with slavery, Jim Crow laws, and other grinding, inhuman abuse wantonly inflicted upon black people.
But it is also true that over the years substantial improvement has been effected in the lives of millions of African-American families.
Just as importantly, there ARE other issues of the day worthy of focus.
Instead, our society remains obsessed with race---in politics, education, jobs, income, housing, retirement, health, entitlements, religion, sports---every aspect of life is thoroughly dissected to identify, or create, a racial narrative.
Frankly, there is no shortage of race talk in America!
Schultz would be far better off concentrating exclusively on pushing his overpriced coffee and leaving the pursuit of race talk to the discretion of each individual!
Mind you, most of the Starbucks baristas I have encountered seem to be decent, intelligent beings, quite expert in Cappuccino, Latte and the like.
However, few seem in possession of the requisite knowledge, temperament, or passion needed to host public meaningful discourse about the most volatile subject in American history!
Mr. Schultz unless you are willing to be remembered as the coffee merchant who provoked the start of the 2nd US civil war, please restrain yourself by keeping the coffee fresh and hot and by ordering your baristas to studiously avoid any mention of race!