Another racist Starbucks cup?

Asian American customer gets his Starbucks drink order with "China" written on the cup.

Several people have sent this one my way... Over the years, we've seen our share of racist Starbucks cups and fast food receipts. It's a weird, disturbing trend. Now, a Starbucks customer in Connecticut is calling foul over a recent drink order where the word "China" was written on his drink cup.

David, who is Asian American, was at a Starbucks in New York City when he received the cup in question. He snapped the photo above and posted it on Facebook, which got the attention of the local Fox news affiliate: Controversy At Starbucks Over What Was Written On Cup.

"I go there all the time. It's my local one", said David, who asked FOX CT to not use his last name.

David did a double-take and then posted a photo of the cup on his Facebook page, which quickly drew disbelief and outrage from his friends, especially those who are also of Chinese descent.

"I was looking at my cup and then I see the word China on it and I was like whoa this is kind of weird. It never happened before. Usually they'll put your name on it or what type of drink you have," said David.

Starbucks corporate declined our request for an interview but did say they will investigate this incident.

"Starbucks does not tolerate discrimination of any kind. … This type experience is unacceptable and not indicative of the welcoming and respectful service we strive to offer our customers in our stores," said Jaime Riley of Starbucks Coffee.

David remains surprised that an employee wouldn't know better.

"I would assume when they go through corporate training they would know not to put racial stuff on a cup," he said.
What do you think? I'm actually on the fence about this one. While there is certainly precedent for racial insensitivity on a Starbucks cup, the part that holds me up is the actual drink: David ordered green tea.

Starbucks actually offers two varieties of green tea, "China Green Tips Full Leaf Tea" and "Zen Full Leaf Tea." (Yeah, I've been to Starbucks a couple of times.) I'm only guessing, but writing "China" might have just been a way of distinguishing between the two options, unless there's more happening here that we don't know about.

Generally speaking, I think Starbucks employees would be discouraged against writing stuff on cups that could be potentially offensive, regardless of intent. Simply writing "China" on an Asian American customer's cup is probably one of those situations. (Drawing "chink eyes" is definitely one of them.)

angry archive