Is Hospitality the Opposite of Hate?

While reading the 8/17/15 edition of The Washington Post, I cried. 

The death of Julian Bond, one of my heroes, saddened me because there was now one fewer person to fight injustice.

Sad because I had forgotten about the ultimate sacrifice made by Jonathan Myrick Daniels, a young, white, Episcopal seminarian and civil rights activist, when he saved the life of a young black woman, Ruby Sales (August 14 is now on my calendar to observe that day he, a white man of privilege, chose the less easy path).

I cried because I was horrified by the xenophobia (again) in Germany and the destruction against what would have been a home for migrants fleeing the horrors of Syria and other lands where people are attacked for who they are or the countries from which they came.

I thought about the word “hospitality” and wondered if the opposite was “hate” because what I felt as I read was the expression of hatred. And I wondered why our industry and those in it can’t do more to use hospitality for good not just profit? Isn't it part of the human side of "corporate social responsibility" (CSR)? Isn't empathy* a large part of hospitality? 

Look, the hospitality and meetings industry chose me. Or maybe I was born into it. It has been the right place to use the skills I had and developed and the passion for inclusiveness, to be hospitable. Through it all, I believe my personal mission—to increase communication and understanding among people to help, and you may laugh, bring world peace—could be furthered.

What does this have to do with us individually and our industry? Everything! Read the synonyms for hospitality and then the antonyms. Think about your own actions and those of our employer or professional organizations. How are we furthering hospitality? How can we do it better?

You need a checklist, right? Try this one.

  1. Be welcoming. Even on your worst day, find a way to welcome the stranger.
  2. Believe that even in the person whose actions are the most heinous, there is some goodness that may just need a kind word.
  3. Speak up and act out when you see or read about injustice.
  4. Challenge the status quo of our industry when it turns away people with service animals
  5. Ensure that industry venues do more than meet the ADA requirements and are truly hospitable for guests and employees. 
  6. Stop hate and increase hospitality wherever you have the opportunity.
  7. Be empathetic. If it's not natural, learn it (Look at all the cool resources I found on empathy for our industry to read and share.*)

Sounds like a chorus of "We Are the World," huh? Wouldn't be a bad idea right now.


(Which may be more than you want and yet, it has great nuggets of how to help).

The views expressed in this blog and in other writing are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Meetings Today.

Posted by Joan L. Eisenstodt

Follow Joan on Twitter: @joaneisenstodt

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