Starbucks Won’t Allow Employees to Wear Anything Supporting Black Lives Matter
But they WILL still sell you a Wynton Marsalis jazz CD for $29.
As the Black Lives Matter protests continue, corporations are rushing to jump on the bandwagon and tell us about how woke they are. Every day it seems like I get 45 emails from every company I’ve ever purchased something from alerting me that they believe Black people shouldn’t be murdered in the street without repercussions.
What a relief it is to know that Old Navy AND Yogurtland are standing up against prejudice and oppression! They are truly one of us. But while these corporations are quick to champion social justice in words, they are often less apt to do so with action. Which brings us to Starbucks. The ubiquitous coffee chain has posted messages of support across their social media channels.
Black lives matter. We are committed to being a part of change.
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) June 4, 2020
However, an internal memo went out to Starbucks employees telling them not to wear any clothing or accessories that support Black Lives Matter. The company claims that the rule is part of their established dress code policy, which also includes “any type of political, religious, or personal accessories or clothing.”
It would be one thing if Starbucks had zero history of supporting any political or social movements, but they are known for giving out buttons and clothing in support of LGBTQ+ rights and marriage equality during Pride month. According to Buzzfeed News, employees have been encouraging their bosses to speak up to senior leadership and question these policies.
In response, employees were shown a video (which has now been removed) in which Starbucks’ VP of inclusion and diversity Zing Shaw explained that there are “agitators who misconstrue the fundamental principles” of the movement and could use them to “amplify divisiveness.”
Many took to social media to call out the company for pandering and #BoycottStarbucks is trending:
— Yolian Ogbu (@yolian_ogbu) June 11, 2020
— Ameerah (@the_mod_woman) June 11, 2020
WTF? After first voicing support, Starbucks won’t let employees wear #BlackLivesMatter gear. As one barista says, “It is silencing and Starbucks is complicit. Now more than ever, Starbucks needs to stand with us.” #BoycottStarbucks https://t.co/lDNph8N22d
— Amanda Filipacchi (@AFilipacchi) June 11, 2020
When it comes to performative activism, a lot can change in 7 days. pic.twitter.com/vGkpJSZHED
— Braddington (@bradwhipple) June 11, 2020
I see #BoycottStarbucks is trending.
I thought we already did that.
If you’re gonna be serious about a boycott, you better come with some demands and be willing to walk away indefinitely if those demands aren’t met. https://t.co/2W3utJJOo6
— DAP/ADOS TRIBE🇺🇸 (@Black_Action) June 11, 2020
The idea that BLM can incite violence not only supports stereotypes
It supports structural racism by putting white discomfort over black lives
— Ori-gin-hall (@OriHall) June 11, 2020
Remember when they wrote “Let’s talk about racism!” on the cups? Remember when they closed for half a day because 2 Black men were arrested for being Black at a @Starbucks?
— W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) June 11, 2020
Remember when starbucks shut down all its stores for racial bias trainings? https://t.co/1QNk78sZkB
— Simran Jeet Singh (@SikhProf) June 11, 2020
Former Starbucks CEO and failed presidential candidate Howard Schultz (remember him?) has yet to comment. This is as good a reminder as any that while corporations may be riding the tide of wokeness, they are ultimately only concerned with the bottom line. They will stay woke as long as it brings in the money.
(via Buzzfeed News, image: JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images)
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