Thursday, March 19, 2015

well-intended thought-leaders and diversity window-dressers need to read some kahneman...,



NYTimes |  Scrawled on Starbucks cups, the words “Race Together” were intended to stimulate conversations about race relations in America, beginning just days before the company’s annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday. But the coffee company’s campaign has instead unleashed widespread vitriol and derision.

The company effort, which began this week, lit up social media, drawing criticism and skepticism. The attacks grew so hostile that Corey duBrowa, the senior vice president for global communications at Starbucks, temporarily deleted his Twitter account on Monday. “Last night I felt personally attacked in a cascade of negativity,” Mr. duBrowa wrote in a post on Medium on Tuesday.

The fury and confusion boiled down to a simple question: What was Starbucks thinking?

Reactions have ranged from video parodies of customer interactions with baristas to some hostile online attacks aimed at corporate executives. Many have pointed out that the company’s leadership is predominantly white, while many of its baristas are members of minorities.

Others pleaded for a more traditional relationship with the businesses they patronize.

Gwen Ifill, the co-anchor of “PBS NewsHour,” wrote in a tweet on Tuesday: “Honest to God, if you start to engage me in a race conversation before I’ve had my morning coffee, it will not end well.”

At the Wednesday gathering in Seattle, Howard D. Schultz, the chief executive of Starbucks, addressed the nascent public relations campaign accompanied by the stagecraft of African-American guest speakers like the Academy Award winner Common and ending with Jennifer Hudson’s rousing rendition of “Hallelujah” at the close of the presentation.

“Race is an unorthodox and even uncomfortable topic for an annual meeting,” he acknowledged. “Where others see costs, risks, excuses and hopelessness, we see and create pathways of opportunity — that is the role and responsibility of a for-profit, public company.”  Fist tap Arnach (for instigating me to read Thinking Fast and Slow)