The “Let’s Race Together” Conversations about conversing about race

race togetherI went to my local Starbucks yesterday, to test out this race relations campaign that Starbucks has ended as fast as a Barista can make a double shot mocha frappuccino w/soy and no whip please.  I wanted to see how willing and frankly comfortable others would be speaking about race and race related issues.  I didn’t go to enrage but to engage, my intent was to start a dialogue and keeping in mind that a dialogue or two does not solve the social concerns in a nation, dialogues can enlightened and possibly even surprise you.  Dialogues is how relationships in communities are established, especially when does outreach such as myself on a daily basis and not always for political concerns but including community involvement.

Audio is as clear as possible and unedited, so pardon the background noise of the daily operations happening at this Starbucks as well as the piped music playing in the background. Participants were promised anonymity  as well as the location so that they could speak freely.


8 thoughts on “The “Let’s Race Together” Conversations about conversing about race

  1. Very good. Just goes to show that if one approaches a subject in the right way we can find a lot to talk about and even a lot to laugh about. I liked the girls on the end. They seemed really sweet. Yes. It’s a touchy subject but race relations needn’t be. We all want to understand each other’s point of view. Talk it out. Why not? Maybe in the process make a few new friends. Great job Bobbi! Also to the customers and barristas, very good dialogue. This is what we need more of. Talking to each other instead of talking at each other.

  2. Reblogged this on John's Space ….. and commented:
    I haven’t blogged about ‘issues’ for a long time but I follow this blog. Due to Starbucks recent brief policy to discuss race they went there and openly recorded conversations about it. The results were excellent. I invite you to listen to some or all of their conversation. I found it very refreshing.

  3. Wow! GREAT conversations!! I applaud you for doing this. I listened to the whole thing (thought my ADD would get in the way but it didn’t). I’m an avid Starbucks frequenter and I didn’t agree with CEO Schulz’s decision to do this because I don’t want to be assaulted with ‘issues’ where I’m paying for a commercial transaction. (My grocery is frequently asking for charity donations on my credit card check out, which I find annoying.)

    HOWEVER, as the short-lived Starbucks policy resulted in at least ONE excellent conversation about race (YOURS) then it was definitely worth it. You mentioned two points that I ponder often.

    One, why do some (many?) people seem to have ZERO respect for law enforcement? Why would anyone in their right mind physically resist or overtly attack a legally-armed police officer? Out of respect OR fear I personally wouldn’t argue with a cop.

    Two, why are our police officers seemingly in a hair-trigger response mode? Yes many give their lives being attacked by those zero-respect people. That shouldn’t be. But how do you explain the Walmart shooting or the shooting of the 12-yr-old in the playground waving a very realistic toy gun (with the red barrel cap removed) or many others?

    I don’t have the answers but thank you for contributing to the conversation. I would rather see people do more talking and less reacting with violence.

    • I agree John, more talking would help, many see talking as just that talking, they don’t realize the value of a dialogue anymore because, frankly, we’re all becoming so use to instant gratification by internet and technical gadgets that we have “sped up” our needs in a way. Talking takes to much time, all folks ever want now is instant results. Instead of waiting on legal inquiries, they want prosecution, instead of taking the time to dialogue, people make snap assumptions, judgement and decisions. While I don’t see a coffee house leading the way, although in days of old they met in pubs or taverns (the Federalists/founders), it’s a good start and it’s at the level where all policies should start, with the people.

  4. This was so fun to listen to. I’ve so wanted to just sit down & talk to people whose views are the opposite of mine – to try to understand & hope they would do the same with me. For the most part I think most conversations would be like the ones you shared here. There will always be those who cannot let go & just appreciate who we are & what each of us brings to our society. I also think the media runs wild with this topic & keeps the pot stirred up – if we would stop listening to them we’d all get along much better.

    None of us have any choice at all with the world, family, race, culture we’re born into. We DO have a choice in how we live, how we respond to others & the work we put into improving our lives. Why condemn someone who is born into wealth or poverty? Both have the choice to live a full life as well as they can & both have things to offer each other to improve relationships.

    I am a white middle aged woman that was born into poverty in rural Appalachia – some would say white trash. Now I live in the midwest, in a middle class family with a stable income & a good life. I can’t change how I was born or raised but I had choices, obstacles & help from others just like most of us do. Yes, we all judge on first appearances but I hope that I look past that first appearance to know the person, to see the good they have to offer no matter their background & to help repair relationships. We’re all broken in some way no matter our ‘class’ & I am so grateful for those who looked past their first impressions of me & chose to know me instead. I am not so foolish as to realise there are people who feel they have no choices but we all have choices in how we treat each other. When we change that, our choices change.

    My last thought – asking Starbuck’s employees to start this conversation was crazy! I would have had a hard time entering the conversation this way but you did such a great job putting people at ease & allowing them to share how they truly feel.

    • Thank you Jen, I wish everyone across the nation could have a positive opportunity to sit and talk with their community neighbors and others that may not be from their community. I do a lot of outreach throughout the year for different political causes as well as charitable and community goodwill so for me it’s not as intimidating as it would be for others to approach people, but then again in all fairness, I have learned how to read others and know whom not to approach. Thank you for listening, I hope to one day be able to get more on video instead of just audio, many are not comfortable with video but don’t mind giving their opinion on audio.

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