There’s more to Idaho than the majority.
We Are Idaho helps tell the stories of diverse Idahoans, showing what Idaho is really like.
“Oh. Idaho, huh?”
Such a common response I get when I travel, and people ask me where I’m from. I can feel the suspicion and apprehension in their voices. They’re not sure what to make of me now.
They’re often thinking of our unsavory past with white supremacy, or perhaps that it’s one of the reddest states in the country.
They have an image in their head of what it means to be an Idahoan: often a white, conservative, religious, NRA card-toting person that doesn’t care about minorities.
I don’t blame these people.
They don’t know a lot about us, and the few things they have heard might be great. And, what reason do they have to do the research and get closer to the truth? They don’t live here, and they have other things on their minds.
But, it’s not much better inside Idaho.
Generalizations abound here as well. Urban Idahoans often don’t understand rural Idaho. Conservatives don’t understand liberals. Straight folks don’t understand gay people. And white people often don’t understand what it’s like to be a minority. The list goes on and on.
And this doesn’t seem to be getting any better.
A lot has been written about how social media is driving us towards more extreme positions — we often don’t hear out the other side on issues. And, we become much more sure of our views, despite the amount of facts we’ve actually been exposed to.
It shouldn’t be like that.
We should all be taking time to learn from people that aren’t like us. Who they are, and what they experience, think, and feel. What their life is like, and what they’re dealing with on a regular basis. This would open our minds and help us be more understanding.
But, people are busy.
They’re busier than ever. It feels like we’re doing more things with less time, and there are constant demands on our attention. Even if you want to take the time to learn from others, that almost always slips because you’re just trying to get by with all your commitments.
You might pay attention if it was easy.
That’s what We Are Idaho is going to do for you. We’re going to help diverse Idahoans tell their stories.
We’ll use recorded video conversations, photos, and written narratives to help you know what it’s like to be these different people — their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and challenges.
Learn what Idaho’s like for others.
I hope you’ll throw away your pre-conceived notions and open your mind to what these people have to say. If you try, I can guarantee you’ll become a more understanding and empathetic person.