Starbucks CEO wants to talk race in America

In a rare move for a CEO, Starbucks' Howard Schultz is discussing a touchy subject with employees: racial tension in America.

During a company-wide meeting at its Seattle headquarters last week, Schultz opened the lid on race issues, a topic that's been heavily debated lately as tensions run high after the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown—two unarmed black men killed by police.

Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks

"Despite the raw emotion around the events and their underlying racial issues, we at Starbucks should be willing to talk about them internally," Schultz said. "Not to point fingers or to place blame, and not because we have answers, but because staying silent is not who we are."

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Schultz plans to continue forums with employees about race relations in Oakland, California; St. Louis and New York City.

Earlier this month, Schultz told investors that companies must do more for employees and the communities they serve.

Last year, Starbucks inserted itself into the political fray—another less common corporate move—by organizing an online petition to urge lawmakers to end the government shutdown.