I share this with you because good intentions do not always make good law, policy, or even words or actions. Sometimes good intentions can lead to bad decisions, like going down a roller coaster without being fully secured in your seat.
Here is my example: Airbnb is demanding their hosts and renters give up their American First Amendment rights, or be dropped from membership. Here is my experience:
On Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 8:37 a.m. PST, I received the following email from Airbnb.
The Airbnb Community Commitment
Earlier this year, we launched a comprehensive effort to fight bias and discrimination in the Airbnb community. As a result of this effort, we’re asking everyone to agree to a Community Commitment beginning November 1, 2016. Agreeing to this commitment will affect your use of Airbnb, so we wanted to give you a heads up about it.
What is the Community Commitment?
You commit to treat everyone — regardless of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age — with respect, and without judgment or bias.
How do I accept the commitment?
On or after November 1, we’ll show you the commitment when you log in to or open the Airbnb website, mobile or tablet app and we’ll automatically ask you to accept.
What if I decline the commitment?
If you decline the commitment, you won’t be able to host or book using Airbnb, and you have the option to cancel your account. Once your account is canceled, future booked trips will be canceled. You will still be able to browse Airbnb but you won’t be able to book any reservations or host any guests.
What if I have feedback about the commitment?
The Airbnb Team
Sent with ♥ from Airbnb
Airbnb, Inc., 888 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94103
WHAT DID I DO?
For those of you who are interested, here was my reply via email to Airbnb on Sunday, October 30 at 12:15 p.m.:
I fully support your desire for people to “respect” one another. However, your demand that all hosts and renters “…treat everyone… without judgment or bias” is illogical, unreasonable, and unrealistic. It also violates America’s First Amendment free speech rights.
- Your Commitment requires your hosts and renters to lie, or lose their right to participate in your network. Everyone who signs your commitment is lying. It is so sad to see you strong-arming your community.
The fact is hosts and people booking rooms ALWAYS are judging the hosts or environment they are renting. No one accepts a person into their home, or purposefully rents a room/home from someone who makes them uncomfortable.Our heritage and beliefs spill over into our lifestyles, and we ALL make choices — including EVERYONE AT AIRBNB.(“Choices” are a form of “judgment” with “bias” to what we like.Choices are not necessarily prejudice.)
- I did not join Airbnb to be part of a political movement. I find it offensive that you want to force your beliefs on me, and especially in a way that is false. Your broad statements are impossible for anyone to truly live out. I will drop from your network if this Commitment program is enacted as it is today.Unlike many of your members, I will not sacrifice my integrity to bow down to your demands. There are plenty of other businesses and networks where I can reserve a room without having to submit to your prejudices.
- Please note: I work and have friendships with people that meet all of your criteria. We have people of other races in our family. I am loving and respectful with all of them.
- Your Commitment requirement reminds me of Nazi Germany, not the idealistic standard you purport it to be. I hope it is well-intentioned, but the way it is currently written is arrogant, shocking, and disappointing.
Part of the closing comments of your email states: “We welcome your feedback about the Community Commitment and all of our nondiscrimination efforts.” I don’t expect you to agree with me. Your Commitment verbiage indicates you will not be respectful of my thoughts. Either I kowtow to your demands, or I’m out.
Can’t you see the judgment and bias in your own Commitment requirement? I hope you choose to edit your Commitment standard to only have the word “respect” in it. Please do not require people to lie. Drop the words “judgment” and “bias.”
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FOOTNOTE: Please be leaders who bring people together in work that is both collectively and individually meaningful. Be careful to avoid Airbnb’s mistake. Never divide people based on a lie, even if your intentions are good. Only demand a standard when it is necessary, and your standards are based on truth.
In reality, Airbnb could have achieved its sincere objective with the word “respect.”
I encourage you to contact Airbnb to support or disagree with their Commitment requirement. Why do I ask you to do this even if you disagree with me? Because I respect your opinion.