Is Starbucks a Modern-Day Slavemaster? by Paula Neal Mooney
Expect Starbucks to be in the news a lot more this year ever since the documentary called Black Gold roasted the coffee giant, claiming Starbucks pays pennies to the Ethiopians who slave away gathering the beans that turn into the delicious cafe mochas and such us Americans scarf down by the gallon.
Then Oxfam America conducted their Starbucks Day of Action last December. (Watch it here if all you see is a big ol' blank square below):
Then came Starbucks' bland response:
Public response to how Starbucks treats the coffee-growers in ensuing months will be interesting to watch. I think any charity that attempts to get corporate giants who aren't doing the right thing to do the right thing by the oppressed poor is good.
In the meantime, I also suggest personal culpability as well. Sure, folks will argue that a good portion of our tax dollars and the money we pay for products should go to the poor. But this, to me, seems like a smokescreen for selfishness.
Of course I know selfishness firsthand. The $60 I spent on hair weave could've fed some family for a year, no doubt. Each time I choose to spend lavishly on myself, I can't help but flashing back to that scene at the end of Schindler's Listwhere Schindler said "This watch...this watch...could've saved a life..."
At least every month I drive right by the beautiful Starbucks right up the street from me -- with its white clock tower that makes it somehow scarily resemble a church -- even though I'm jonesing for a Carmel Mac or something hot and stimulating.
Usually it's around the time of the month the 24 bucks has hit my account that goes to Christian Children's Fund to help Ireen, a little girl I sponsor in Zambia. I began giving when I heard about a different little African baby in 2004 that was raped at 10 months old. I was so upset that I could barely work that Friday...so ready was I to jump on a flight to Africa.
I did what I could. Oprah -- God bless her -- opened a school in Africa. She does what she can with all her millions (or is it billions?) and we can do what we can with our dollars. Which includes doing more than shaking our heads at big greedy corporations getting rich off the poor, but also sending the 4 bucks we plan to spend today on a tasty frappucinco and sending it on over to a child that rarely smiles because she's so hungry instead...
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