Giving up coffee for Lent has turned out to be more of a struggle than I expected, but Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz has given me another reason to stick with it: It means that none of his employees will try to engage me in a conversation about racial inequality. Or, even worse, about “the need for compassion, the need for empathy, the need for love toward others.” That’s the suggestion Schultz was urging on the poor clerks at Starbucks counters last week. And I thought I was grumpy not getting a cup.

The initiative hasn’t gone over well. “I felt personally attacked in a cascade of negativity,” said one Starbucks exec about the online reaction. Hey, guys, you’re the ones who wanted a conversation.

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