The outrage mob on social media strikes again. This time it was against Starbucks and the corporation’s decision to stop baristas from wearing Black Lives Matter (BLM) attire or accessories. On Wednesday the decision was reported to have been made because of the possibility that the message might be misunderstood or incite violence.
Starbucks posted its deep thoughts about social justice on Twitter like every other corporation, large and small, did once the protests and rioting began over the death of George Floyd. No company wants to be left behind in the “being a part of change” movement. However, “stand in solidarity with our Black partners, customers and communities” didn’t include employees wearing t-shirts or pins and other accessories that mention Black Live Matter. Starbucks said to do so would violate company dress code policy, which prohibits religious or political clothing or accessories.
Black lives matter. We are committed to being a part of change.
You can find educational resources at https://t.co/xSXwaw2vQA. pic.twitter.com/ZxifsW7oeO
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) June 4, 2020
According to an internal bulletin obtained by BuzzFeed News, store managers had been contacting senior leadership on behalf of employees who wanted to wear BLM-related attire as protests continued to sweep major cities and small towns across the country.
In response, management, according to the memo from last week, argued that wearing clothing and accessories highlighting Black Lives Matter could be misunderstood and potentially incite violence. The bulletin pointed employees to a video, which has now been removed, in which its VP of inclusion and diversity explained that “agitators who misconstrue the fundamental principles” of the movement and could use them to “amplify divisiveness.”
The outrage mob sprang into action. The twist is that employees and others noted that Starbucks hands out buttons and attire celebrating LGBTQ rights and marriage equality. So, what’s good for one group is good for another, right? Ah, yes, identity politics. It’s bit Starbucks on the butt. A Starbucks spokesperson said the company is committed to ending “systemic racism” but the dress code is in place “to create a safe and welcoming” environment for customers and staff.
It looks like the company just planned to post tweets and write a big check to organizations promoting racial equality. They did give Starbucks employees the option to buy a T-shirt from its approved “Black Partner Network.” The Black Partner Network’s mission is to “spark conversation around the African diaspora,” which sounds very woke.
The path forward requires open and honest conversations about racial injustices. On Saturday, Starbucks partners came together in an open forum to listen and support one another.
It’s going to take each of us to drive necessary change. https://t.co/ZUlBV9MgFF
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) June 2, 2020
Not all Starbucks employees are so woke, though. Some agreed with the dress code and expressed their opinions.
Some employees, however, agree with the company’s position. On an internal portal with links and information on how to stand up for racial justice, including links to support different organizations like the NAACP, one worker thanked Starbucks for sharing the resources, but also for its commitment to not allowing partners to wear BLM gear, noting that for some it represents anti-police sentiment and unrest.
“Think of the families that have also have hurt emotional [sic] and physically from violence and threats from those that associate with BLM that are not peaceful,” they wrote, talking specifically about police officers.
That’s the thing – BLM is often associated with violence and agitation, whether its supporters want to acknowledge that or not. Often BLM protests are taken over by violent agitators, including Antifa and bad things happen.
Today, Starbucks is publicly changing its mind. Because of the kerfuffle over the company’s history of distributing LGBTQ accessories and attire, it will do the same for BLM. Starbucks will even make a batch of t-shirts for its employees. Until they arrive, employees can wear pins and shirts to support BLM. That cave didn’t take long at all, did it?
Now, Starbucks will be doing the same for Black Lives Matter. The chain will make 250,000 shirts with a design that includes “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace” available to workers in its company-owned cafes in the United States and Canada. The company said that it began planning to provide shirts for employees last week.
Starbucks has a checkered history over race and police, too. It’s over-priced inferior coffee anyway. (Except the Christmas Blend, which I buy every season.) You’re better off making your own coffee at home. Let them try to maneuver the social justice warriors.