Buying a cup of coffee is getting risky for introverts. Last month, McDonald’s asked random customers to hug strangers or blow kisses to get their orders for free. Last week, Starbucks baristas were writing “Race Together” on their biodegradable cups and engaging customers in conversations about race.

It was the Seattle-based chain’s latest effort to solve the world’s ills, this time racial tension at home. However well-intentioned, it seems destined for death by tweet, as social media responded with gleeful derision: “Some of my friends are black coffee” and “Despite our differences, left or right, black or white, can we agree this Starbucks race talk idea is really stupid?” Starbucks unveiled the program with full-page ads in The New York Times and USA Today that asked “Shall we overcome?” on a stark black background. “We at Starbucks should be willing to talk about these issues in America, not to point fingers or place blame … but because staying silent is not who we are,” CEO Howard Schultz said.

Starbucks employees have been talking about race since December, when Schultz launched forums on the subject at stores around the country. At one, an African-American employee in St. Louis said he was proud when he turned 20; another poignantly likened racism to humidity: “You can’t see it, but you feel it.”

Internal forums may be useful within Starbucks, which has nearly 12,000 locations in the United States. But conversations about what’s been called America’s birth defect – racism – are too important to have awkwardly while waiting for a cuppa joe.