While I was reading the Pezullo document about buycotts and boycotts, I started to wonder what products I had been supporting for the good. So I went to my fridge and looked around–it didn’t take long since my fridge looks like it belongs in a college dorm or a bachelor pad–and I pulled out the most common thing in my fridge: Chobani Greek Yogurt.
I dusted off my old friend the Buycott App (admittedly I haven’t used it for a while) and scanned the barcode. Low and behold, Chobani is on my buycott list as a company that I should support!
While I have generally trusted the buycott app for guidance, I have been burned a few times by misrepresented facts and stories. So I took to the Googlescape and did my research to see what was up with Chobani.
Buycott told me that I should support Chobani because they had somehow defended civil rights. So I wanted to verify that and get the whole story. And here it is:
Chobani’s founder and CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya, has taken heat and some bad press for supposedly making statements about wanting to, “Drown the United States in Muslims,” or for attempting to “import labor” or exploit refugees as cheap labor. What I found in researching the issue us that the once immigrant leader of Chobani seems to sincerely be trying to help refugees find work and make a home and a life here.
The U.S. has been up and down on refugee admissions over the years and the topic has long been a contentious debate amongst Americans. People worry about the security of letting refugees in, they worry about the cost and the supposed drain on the economy.
It seems to me that this sort of opportunity might dissuade would-be terrorists. If a refugee comes here and finds hope for a future, why would they attack? On the other hand, when they face hatred and mistrust, aren’t able to find work and support themselves … well, that seems like a breeding ground for anger and violence.
I just happened to be in Boise, Idaho, a few weeks ago, which is near the Chobani factory in Twin Falls, Idaho. While I was there I noted a concerning lack of diversity. So in a couple of instances, I asked, as politely as I could, “what’s up with that?” The citizens of Boise immediately, and proudly, defend their diversity by telling me they have accepted more refugees than New York City, or Los Angeles. I spent the whole time we were there wondering where the heck these refugees were. Now it seems I have found them, they are all in Twin Falls working for Chobani!
To be clear, I am sure they aren’t all in Twin Falls, and I know there are other factors of diversity in Boise, like the Basque community for example. But I just happened across this Chobani story so soon after my visit there that I found it timely and a bit amusing for the coincidence of it.