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Coffee Talk

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Would you like a lecture on race with your latte?

That may sound like the name of a breakout session at a “White Privilege” conference or a new class at an Ivy League university, but it’s the new corporate policy at Starbucks. You now can be lectured by an otherwise unemployable gender studies graduate while paying $7 for a a penny’s worth of hot water run over a nickel’s worth of ground coffee beans and a splash of milk. What took Madison Avenue so long to cook up this marketing scheme?


I don’t drink coffee, never have. I’ve only been in Starbucks because whoever I was with needed to unburden themselves of some cash and get a refill on pretension. So I feel left out of the discussion CEO Howard Schultz wants to force on a groggy nation seeking a pick-me-up.

Since I’m being excluded by having taste and fiscal responsibility, I’ll have mine here. Maybe we can #RaceTogether…together.

That it’s 2015 and we’re still having this conversation is a testament to the failure of all of us. Race matters only because people make it matter. But people don’t make it matter because it’s an issue of serious or moderate concern. It matters because, like so many other things progressives foist on society, there’s money and power in it.

Republicans are called “insensitive” on race because they don’t tend to pander and patronize as much and because they treat individuals as individuals, not members of a race.

Democrats, on the other hand, see race first, last and always.

Pandering and patronizing are easy ways to endear yourself to people. Democrats are experts at that, and it has worked wonders for them. They routinely win large majorities of the black and Hispanic vote. For the objects of their pandering and patronizing, the return on that investment is less than stellar.


Name a city with a majority minority population and you will find Democratic leadership. Not just currently, but generationally. You also will find poverty, crushing in many areas. So what explains the loyal voting for a party that delivers only misery?

After more than a century of being a party of overt racism, the Democratic Party transformed to a party of covert racism. It went from using fear of bodily harm to keep minorities from voting to implying harm if minorities don’t vote a certain way. It may well be the most successful feat of mass human manipulation in history.

Find the pockets of highest unemployment in the country and you will find Democrats in charge. Find the highest concentrations of minorities and you will find Democrats in charge.

The disconnect between voting loyalty and results could not be higher. But that disconnect never has been threatened by reality. Democrats have successfully lied to minorities, particularly poor minorities, and those lies, no matter how obvious, only serve to reinforce that bond.

I, as a white person, never understood this. Since we’re having an honest discussion about race, this is perhaps the most important question I have: Why be loyal to what does not work?


The Detroit I knew growing up there never was the thriving economic powerhouse it was in its heyday. It did, however, get significantly worse. The bankruptcy in which it ultimately found itself did not happen overnight; it was the end of a long downward spiral. Yet at no point during that spiral did the city’s residents, particularly its black residents, think to switch their voting patterns.

With no conceivable way for Republicans to be worse than the Democrats who’d brought about Detroit’s collapse, with nowhere to go but up, the city’s black residents remain loyal to this day to Democrats for every level of governance. Why?

This perplexes me, but it is how it works. If Democrats routinely punch you in the face and take your wallet while telling you Republicans will punch you in the face and take your wallet, wouldn’t you give Republicans a chance, if only to see if they punch a little softer or take less of your money? Or wouldn’t you question the assertion that Republicans also punch and rob you considering all you have to go on is the word of the person punching and robbing you?

I don’t expect an answer from baristas with $150,000 in student loan debt, degrees in 1940s bisexual polar bear studies, similar blind loyalty to the Democrats because they don’t judge them for having stretched their earlobes to the size of hula-hoops and no understanding of how their life led them to slinging overpriced coffee.


I’m pretty sure I know the answers to my questions just like I have a strong suspicion about how that tofu-eating barista ended up where he is. I’m just thankful I don’t drink coffee so I don’t have to have a conversation with the latter about the former, or any conversation at all.

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