Well, you didn’t have to be Nostradamus to see this one coming.
On Friday, Buzzfeed News reported that despite Starbucks’s rush to social media to support Black Lives Matter, racial equality, and all the rest of the stuff that people are protesting about these days, the company’s management had decided that they didn’t want their store employees wearing pins, armbands, or anything else that would directly show support for the movement.
From the original Buzzfeed report:
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.”
Well, it took roughly 2.3 seconds for Starbucks to change its mind about THAT particular policy. The coffee chain (which held a national diversity-training day a couple of years ago after baristas called police on loitering, black non-customers), announced this week that not only will they let employees show their support for the movement…they’re actually going to design their own t-shirts for the cause!
“As we talked about earlier this week, we’re designing new t-shirts with the graphic below to demonstrate our allyship and show we stand together in unity,” wrote Roz Brewer, the COO of Starbucks, and Zing Shaw, Starbucks’ vice president for inclusion and diversity, in a letter to distributors.
“Until these arrive,” they continued, “we’ve heard you want to show your support, so just be you. Wear your BLM pin or t-shirt. We are so proud of your passionate support of our common humanity. We trust you to do what’s right while never forgetting Starbucks is a welcoming third place where all are treated with dignity and respect.”
Does that mean employees can wear “All Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter” apparel?
We’re guessing not.
“Together, we’re saying: Black Lives Matter and it’s going to take ALL of us, working together, to affect change,” the letter continued. “That means using our voice to vote in our elections, volunteering in our black communities, joining local peaceful protests, ensuring our diverse slates of job candidates translate into diverse hires, mentoring and sponsoring partners of color so they can reach their maximum potential and taking steps to build greater understanding with empathy.”
Right. Today’s burning of the local Starbucks is sponsored by…Starbucks!
Well, like we said. No surprise at all.