Friday March 20, 2015

Starbucks 'Race Together' campaign stirs up controversy

The "Race Together" campaign is aimed at combating race relations by encouraging frank discussions on race between baristas and patrons at U.S. stores.

The "Race Together" campaign is aimed at combating race relations by encouraging frank discussions on race between baristas and patrons at U.S. stores. (Starbucks)

Starbucks stores in the U.S. are giving their baristas free rein to talk race with their customers. But the campaign is raising eyebrows — and questions about whether this is the best way engage citizens in an issue that defies simple solutions. 

To discuss, we were joined by a panel:

Desmond Cole is a freelance journalist and radio host at NewsTalk1010. 

Anupa Mistry is a freelance writer and culture critic. 

Chris MacDonald is a professor of ethics at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University.

We did invite comment from Starbucks, but no one was available to speak with us. 

Would you be open to your barista starting a conversation with you about race? Do you see any benefit to corporations like Starbucks raising social issues?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry and Pacinthe Mattar.