According to the Wall Street Journal today, “Starbucks Corp. is teaming up with more than a dozen companies in a commitment to increase hiring of young, minority workers over the next three years.” It’s unclear from the article exactly how race and ethnicity are to be used in the hiring process. The definition of “minority” is also not spelled out, though, as is often the case, some minorities seem to be more equal than others (blacks and Latinos are mentioned, but no one else).
Nor is it clear what the justification is for this nonsense. Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz (of “Race Together” fame) says, “It’s very personal for me, having grown up in public housing and understanding what it was like to be that poor kid,” but Mr. Schultz does not appear to be black or Latino, and it may come as news to him, too, that there are many blacks and Latinos who have not grown up in public housing and are not poor.
But logic and fairness aside, employment discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity is illegal, with only a few narrow exceptions that do not apply here. No doubt the Obama administration’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will quickly explain this to Starbucks and the other companies involved.