Editorial: New Airbnb policy a step forward

“Community Commitment” policy took effect Nov. 1

Airbnb, the worldwide online vacation rental broker, introduced its new “Community Commitment” policy Nov. 1.

The policy is a commitment by the website’s rental property hosts and users alike, of mutual acceptance “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.”

Starting Nov. 1, all Airbnb “hosts” and “guests” must agree to this new policy, or they will have their privileges revoked.

While we applaud Airbnb for this new policy, we do so with mixed emotions.

Not that we are against the policy, in any way; quite the opposite. It’s just sad that such policies have to be put in place.

Will we ever reach a maturity as a society where things like this don’t have to be expressed?

As long as people, and companies, continue to make changes, such as what Airbnb did this week, it tells us two things: we aren’t there yet, and there’s still hope.

Clearly, if we were at a point of unilateral acceptance, there would no longer be a need for such policies as the one put in place by Airbnb this week.

On the upside, if the prospect of such acceptance were truly beyond hope, companies would not bother spending the time and effort of putting such policies in place.

There are those who believe universal acceptance of people as people, nothing more, nothing less, will never happen, and there’s plenty of support for that argument.

For every world leader like Justin Trudeau, who preaches – and practises – fairness to all, there’s a Donald Trump out there, inciting fear, anger, and hatred towards specific people.

So, no, we aren’t even close to achieving universal respect, by everyone, for everyone. But we are closer than we were at one time. And as long as we continue to strive for equality, we will continue to close in on that ever-elusive goal.

Hopefully there comes a day when two people can walk hand-in-hand in public, without fear of persecution, be they of different races, or of the same sex.

Hopefully, one day, people won’t feel compelled to announce they are “coming out,” because it won’t matter. They can all just “be.”

Hopefully there comes a day when companies don’t feel compelled to write up policies declaring universal acceptance and respect. Hopefully one day those things will be a given.

Until then, we urge other groups to follow Airbnb’s example. It’s the right thing to do.

– Black Press

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