What do Ikea and Tara Westover's book Educated have in common?
Yesterday's radio interview on CBC's The Current with Tara Westover, really resonates with IDAHOTB Day today and makes me think...
Are we really taking the time to talk in our society? To have open conversations without fear of retribution?
I've an awesome design-savvy cousin who is employed at a Canadian Ikea store.
Today, in his work place, it's all about celebrating International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia -- and Ikea's supportive culture and proactive support of inclusion and human rights certainly sets them apart on days like this. Imagine working for an employer who puts out a statement to all employees stating,
"Remember to be yourself. Your uniqueness makes IKEA better."
Some companies can get it so right.
But Ikea didn't stop there. They're having open table conversations throughout the day and also sent a memo to their staff stating, in part that it's really up to everyone to promote inclusivity:
It is important to remember that LGBT+ inclusion is the responsibility of every co-worker; it begins with everyone believing in – and wanting to work in – an inclusive work environment. We expect every co-worker to stand up for themselves and for others, ensuring that all feel included.
Tara Westover's new book, Educated, is about her transformation after leaving a non-conformist family against schooling -- to earning a PhD -- but, what struck me most in her interview on The Current, was her comment on how polarized society has become.
And how we've gone from a place of being open to discussing differences of opinion and learning from one another - to a place of 'I'm right and you're wrong.'
Having a child who is apart of the LGBTQ+ community in my family, I hear or read about this, sadly, every single day.
There were a lot of things I said, when I first got to university that would have been considered, sexist, racist, homophobic, all kinds of just ideas that I had, that I had been given. And I've never had them challenged and I never thought about them. And I feel like I was given the benefit of the doubt so much and people would engage with me, rather than just turn their back on me, they would try to figure out why I thought that and they would present me with better arguments, which over time would really begin to change the way that I thought. But my worry is that we have become so tribal, that we don't do that anymore and that we tend to go straight from, you have a prejudice opinion to you are a bad person and we don't try to talk to people.
Tara Westover, The Current, May 16, 2018
So I say, thank you, to those who abandon tribal and those who aren't afraid to challenge your thoughts or preconceived ideologies about the LGBTQ community. And thank you to those who become concerned citizens and institutions, unafraid to act for a more inclusive future. It takes wind to make a flag soar.