Can a Brother Just Get a Soy Milk Latte at No Extra Charge?

If y’all don’t know by now, white supremacists actually use cow’s milk as a symbol of their alleged “superiority”

Editor’s note: this op-ed comes from a staffer at PETA, the animal rights organization currently campaigning for Starbucks to drop the surcharge for plant-based milks. He explains his perspective on the issue for Tenderly.

There are two things I absolutely love doing on this Earth — ending the exploitation of animals and infuriating white supremacists. Dear Starbucks, you have a prime opportunity to assist with both.

If y’all don’t know by now, white supremacists actually use cow’s milk as a symbol of their alleged “superiority.” They share photos of themselves chugging milk and include milk emojis in their tweets to celebrate their “whiteness.” This corny nonsense is fueled not only by the color of milk but also by their hatred of those with darker skin.

Some 70% of African Americans are lactose intolerant, and in general, people of color are less likely to have the genetic mutation that allows digestion of lactose. These racist white people somehow feel that being more likely to be able to digest another species’ breast milk makes them “superior” — Lord help us.

Starbucks doesn’t help by charging those of us who choose plant-based milks — such as almond, coconut, and soy — an extra fee. So, Starbucks, I’m asking you to help a brother out by dropping your surcharge. As the leader of all things coffee, shouldn’t the chain be encouraging customers to choose animal-friendly, vegan milk rather than the stuff meant for a baby cow? Many other chains — including Tim Hortons, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Noah’s New York Bagels, Philz Coffee, and Costa Coffee — already offer dairy-free milk at no extra charge. Boss up and start running the coffee game again.

From wage discrimination to racial profiling, black folks already pay a “black tax” every waking moment of our lives. The last thing we need after a long day of eye-rolling at “Proud Boys” is to pay a surcharge for soy milk in our Frappuccinos. Let’s knock racists down a peg by bringing a little equality to Starbucks’ milk options. (I can already imagine those unseasoned supremacist tears.)

Photos provided by Zachary Toliver

Real talk — despite all the fantasy about why cow’s milk is a symbol of racial “purity,” cow’s milk really is the perfect drink of choice for (even unwitting) supremacists of every kind. The dairy industry inflicts extreme violence on other sentient beings who are powerless to defend themselves. Dairy farmers tear babies away from their mothers in order to steal the precious milk that cows produce to feed their young.

There is no retirement home for the mother cow. People are often surprised to learn that the dairy industry slaughters cows after about five years because their bodies are worn out from having been kept constantly pregnant. At the slaughterhouse, their throats are slit, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s reports show that sometimes they’re still conscious and skinned or dismembered alive. By encouraging customers to drink vegan milk options, Starbucks will help them make a kind choice when copping their next cup of coffee.

Customers who dig animals and want them to live free from torment don’t want to choose the wrong “white stuff.” So please, Starbucks, make vegan milk options more inclusive by dropping that surcharge already.

A banjo-playing vegan who is great at finding shortcuts in this part of town.

Sign up for Love Me, Tenderly

By Tenderly

Tenderly's vegan newsletter delivers delicious plants, liberated animals, and the perspectives of vegans all over the world.  Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

A vegan magazine that’s hopefully devoted to delicious plants, liberated animals, and leading a radical, sustainable, joyful life

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store