Despite the criticism levied upon Starbucks by people who think its Race Together campaign is way too ambitious, out of place and opportunistic, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz insisted during the company's annual shareholders meeting in Seattle Wednesday that its motivations are sincere, the Associated Press reports.
"Some in the media will criticize Starbucks for having a political agenda," Schultz said during the meeting. "Our intentions are pure."
Starbucks was pummeled in social media earlier this week by those who are having a hard time wrapping their minds around just how effective Starbucks employees will be at initiating, and moving the ball on, nuanced conversations about race, class, police brutality and other social issues that have raged across the nation in recent months.
Social media critics practically ran one of Starbucks' communications executives, Corey duBrowa, off Twitter. DuBrowa had to deactivate his account because of all the negative comments he said he was receiving about the campaign.
Schultz described how Starbucks never set out to solve the nation's "centuries-old problems of racism," but he does think the Race Together campaign is a step in the right direction.
Plus, if customers don't like having the words "Race Together" written on their lattes, or would rather not engage in these kinds of conversations with their baristas, they don't have to. For those customers who would rather not participate, the store has vowed to make them another drink or cover up the "race" cups.
"This is not a marketing or P.R. exercise," Schultz said.
Read more at the Associated Press.