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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Framingham chapter.

People get mad, be passionate, but have an end game. In today’s society it’s easy for us to research and look into certain corporations and industries to see what type of dirty laundry they have. Once research is found that shows that said corporation is not worth supporting, we as a society decide to boycott. We stop using their services, buying their stuff, or even being affiliated with them.

However, what does boycotting really do? Do we all remember the incidents that happened last year with Starbucks? If not, let me refresh your mind. In April of 2018, two black men had the cops called on them because they seemed suspicious. However, with further investigation, it was discovered that the men were there waiting for a friend/associate, and they had not purchased a drink. This then led an employee to suspect that two people in Starbucks who were black with no drinks had to be up to no good, so they called the cops. There was another incident in which a Latina woman had a derogatory name written on her beverage, and there’s probably a few more that I can’t remember.

But this isn’t about the racism or the intolerance we have in the world going from one edge to the other. This is about the people who don’t agree with the company’s policies or way of handling situations like these. It was easy for people to boycott going to Starbucks and saying that the “company is racist” but how can an inanimate object be racist? No, the company is not racist, the CEO closed down stores so that the employees would take sensitivity training for a whole day (I remember this because I stood outside my local starbucks Snapchatting my pain).

 The definition of boycotting is: withdraw from commercial or social relations with (a country, organization, or person) as a punishment or protest. The definition of protest is: a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something. Okay, so we do all that to punish Starbucks for being racist, we protest Starbucks for being discriminatory. Now what? We stop going to Starbucks and interacting with that barista who never forgets your name, or that barista who is going to school full time and smiles every time someone puts a dollar in their tip jar? Or we then go to Dunkin, we go through the drive-thru or walk in, get our drink and donut then move on with the day.

However, we know there was a reason why we went to Starbucks, maybe for that diverse drink, or to see that cute barista that makes eye contact with every conversation. Boycotting hurts more than it helps with certain cases. I’m using Starbucks because that is recently (2018) the most problematic boycott in my opinion. I remember I spoke to a coworker about the issue. She is an African American woman, and she said she started boycotting Starbucks because she doesn’t want them disrespecting her now. Now, that got me a little bit confused. Here’s why: me and her bonded over the fact that we both loved Starbucks. We loved the customer service, the coffee, the atmosphere, the bougie feeling of ordering 5 dollar coffee, it was our thing.

So why did she feel like she was about to be insulted by the barista that always smiled at her when she walked in? Or that all of a sudden she was going to be arrested because the barista that always added a little bit more whip cream was going to turn on her? I’ll give my theory as to why. It’s because when the boycott started happening, people kept saying that Starbucks was racist. Giving an institution with no feelings or heartbeat or soul or brain power a label. They didn’t say, “Hey that person is problematic guys, let’s do something about them and their feelings about different races.” That way the conversation is shifted to how racism is as apparent as a fire. You see a little blaze and think nothing of it, because it’s small and harmless, then before you know it, it’s consuming your life, it’s taking over and you can only do so much to stop it.

One prime example of boycotting is when a store in Colorado had to shut down for good when people started boycotting them because they stopped selling Nike apparel. This was an individual owned store, and the people were boycotting his decision of taking away Nike because he didn’t like Colin Kaepernick taking a knee. This boycott was successful because the people protested the intolerance that they believed the store owner was conveying by not selling Nike. With that in mind we have to be reminded that this was individually owned. This store’s operations were a reflection of the owner’s closed mind. What happened with Starbucks happened because an individual that was hired was racist, Starbucks was not.  We should be able to protest (preferably peacefully) matters and situations that we don’t agree with. But we have to think about what this boycott and protest is really doing and how helpful is it really being? My local Starbucks has an issue with remembering my name but the baristas are all kind and diverse and deserve my respect and my business.

For more information about these occurrences: 

Click or tap if you trust this link.”>http://fortune.com/2018/04/16/starbucks-boycott-philadelphia/

Click or tap if you trust this link.”>https://denver.cbslocal.com/2019/02/14/prime-time-sports-boycott-stephen-martin-nike-colin-kaepernick/

Maria Hornbaker

Framingham '19

A senior in College, Secretary of Her Campus FSU. Major in Communications.