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Starbucks takes heat for foray into race relations

Starbucks takes heat for foray into race relations
People use their laptop computers at a Starbucks in Washington in this file photo. Starbucks this week launched a campaign to encourage discussion about race relations in the United States. (Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty Images)

Starbucks started the Race Together campaign Monday, an initiative that encourages employees to engage in conversations with customers about racial tensions.

The campaign stemmed from a forum in December at the coffee company's headquarters in Seattle, where employees were encouraged to discuss their thoughts on race in the United States after police killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo., and New York.

Employees are encouraged, but not required, to write Race Together on coffee cups to engage in conversation with customers. If customers don't want a Race Together cup, they can ask for a plain cup.

The campaign has drawn sharp criticism online. Here's a sample of what people are talking about:

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