Tags: Abdul-Jabbar | Starbucks | Race Campaign

Abdul-Jabbar Slams Starbucks Race Campaign as Unworkable

By    |   Saturday, 21 Mar 2015 09:28 PM

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Saturday slammed the "Race Together" campaign by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz as unworkable because "you can't get into a serious in-depth conversation in a coffee shop amongst strangers."

"It's a good idea certainly to plant the idea that we need to talk about these things, but to get into a meaningful conversation, you need more time and more intimate circumstances for some change to come about from it," the retired Hall of Famer told Michael Smerconish on his CNN program.

Starbucks began the effort on Monday, in which baristas would write "#Race Together" on coffee cups in hopes of encouraging customers to strike up conversations on race relations in America.

Schultz said the idea came from a December meeting where more than 400 Starbucks employees gathered to discuss race relations in light of the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as the police chokehold death Eric Garner in New York City.

The campaign has been broadly slammed on social media — one Twitter poster called it "an intellectually lazy approach to our real and complicated race issues in this country" — and in the press as another attempt by Schultz to try to address controversial political issues.

In 2013, the company urged an end to the partial federal government shutdown, and the year before came out in support of same-sex marriage.

Citing the recent Justice Department report on widespread police abuse against blacks in Ferguson, Abdul-Jabbar told Smerconish "that's been going on for decades.

"And most Americans would not believe that a municipal government would exploit people in such a wanton and cynical way as what's happening to black Americans in the St. Louis area.

"But finally, the Justice Department report really cleared that up and showed why there was so much anger there and why it was so hard to deal with that type of resentment — because these people were being victimized on a regular basis, exploited for their money."

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Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Saturday slammed the "Race Together" campaign by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz as unworkable because "you can't get into a serious in-depth conversation in a coffee shop amongst strangers."
Abdul-Jabbar, Starbucks, Race Campaign
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2015-28-21
Saturday, 21 Mar 2015 09:28 PM
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