'Race Together': Starbucks Stirs Up Controversy With Race Relation Campaign

PHOTO: A glowing Starbucks Coffee sign hangs in the window of a store in downtown Seattle, Jan. 28, 2015.PlayMoment Editorial/Getty Images
WATCH Trying Out Starbucks' Controversial #RaceTogether Campaign

The next time you go to Starbucks, you may see more than your name scribbled on the side of your cup.

The Seattle-based coffee chain is launching a new campaign to address race relations by asking employees to write "Race Together" on the side of customers' cups.

The idea is to spark a conversation between baristas and customers.

"What if we were to write 'Race Together' on every Starbucks cup, and that facilitated a conversation between you and our customers?" Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says in a video message to employees in explaining the campaign. "And what if our customers as a result of that had a renewed level of understanding and sensitivity about the issue, and they themselves would spread that to their own sphere of influence?"

The initiative has created quite a stir on social media -- so much so that the company's senior vice president of communications temporarily deleted his Twitter account under an avalanche of criticism, saying he felt "personally attacked in a cascade of negativity."

Despite the negative reactions, Schultz says the campaign is happening.

"Some people have said, 'Howard, this is not a subject we should touch. This is not for you. This is not for a company. This is for someone else.' I reject that. I reject that completely," he says in the video.

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