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Is everyone discussing race relations while ordering their morning coffee ?


Not everyone wants to discuss race relations while ordering their morning coffee, it seems.

That's the lesson Starbucks learned Tuesday after a torrent of Internet backlash was aimed at its new campaign, which the coffee chain hoped would initiate a nationwide discussion of the issue.

Corey DuBrowa, the company's Senior Vice President of Global Communications, deleted his Twitter account Monday night after being personally attacked amid a storm of angry tweets.

DuBrowa said he'll be back on Twitter soon and that he deleted his account because those attacking him were a "distraction from the respectful conversation we are trying to start."

The issue of racial inequality is often taboo in corporate America, but over the past few months Starbucks has held open forums for employees to talk about it. This week, it pushed further, encouraging baristas to start conversations with customers.

CEO Howard Schultz said he hopes it promotes a new level of understanding and sensitivity about the issue.

"We have problems in this country with regard to race and racial inequality and we believe we're better than this and we believe the country is better than this," Schulz said.

 Starbucks is tackling race relations one cup at a time  

In some cities, baristas started writing "Race Together" on customers' cups to stimulate conversation.

It didn't go over so well.

Some social media users lashed out, claiming that picking up coffee during a morning commute wasn't the time or place to have this kind conversation.

"I understand the initial backlash because you're taking someone's most pleasant experience of the day and running it smack into one of the most unpleasant conversations a person can be confronted with," said Mark Irion, the president of Levick public relations firms.

But he applauded Starbucks for the effort and expects the backlash to taper off.

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