When I was in the military, there were certain things that I could not do even when I was off the job, most of them involved clothing.
It was one thing if I wore a shirt with my favorite television show on it, but if I wore something with any kind of profanity that would be another deal entirely.
Same thing with retail stores. It is mind numbingly ridiculous that you have places that are caving into what their employees want. I mean, who is paying who here?
Facing calls on social media for a boycott after a published report said Starbucks was banning employees from wearing Black Lives Matter attire, the company made a 180-degree switch Friday and said it would not only allow such gear, it would also buy it for workers.
On Wednesday, Buzzfeed reported that Black Lives Matter items were specifically banned as part of the company’s prohibition on political, religious or personal accessories or clothing.
The site reported that Starbucks had told employees in a memo that “there are agitators who misconstrue the fundamental principles of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement — and in certain circumstances, intentionally repurpose them to amplify divisiveness.”
But in the climate that has developed in the aftermath of protests linked to the death of George Floyd, and amid social media demands that Starbucks face a boycott, the company backpedaled.
“Black lives matter and Starbucks is committed to doing our part in ending systemic racism,” the company said in a Friday statement on its website.
“Starbucks stands in solidarity with our Black partners, community and customers, and understand the desire to express themselves,” the statement went on.
In an open letter to employees, who are called “partners” in Starbucks-speak, on its website, a trio of company executives wrote: “These are alarming, uncertain times and people everywhere are hurting. You’ve told us you need a way to express yourself at work.”
The letter was signed by Roz Brewer, chief operating officer; Rossann Williams, executive vice president; and Zing Shaw, chief inclusion and diversity officer.
“We see you. We hear you. Black Lives Matter. That is a fact and will never change. This movement is a catalyst for change, and right now, it’s telling us a lot of things need to be addressed so we can make space to heal,” the letter read.