Vacation rental site AirBnB has come under fire for a host of reasons but the latest rising issue is that of racial bias and discrimination against black travelers. People are sharing what it’s been like to #airbnbwhileblack on Twitter, including CBS News Political Analyst Jamelle Bouie, who said his acceptance rate on the site is one out of every four tries.
I’ll say that despite having good reviews on AirBnB, my hit rate for a place is roughly 1 reservation for every 4 tries. #AirBnbWhileBlack
— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) April 29, 2016
Another user said that after being denied rentals, he changed his profile photo to one of him in a cap and gown but even that proved unsuccessful.
— J.L. Reed (@reedjl) April 29, 2016
Other users report frustrations with hosts never responding, canceling their reservations at the last minute, and even being accepted only after uploading a fake profile photo.
— JaQe Vokalz Elder (@iVokalz) April 29, 2016
— G. Sel (@_GSelden) May 4, 2016
AirBnB requires all hosts and guests to have a profile photo and it’s a great idea to see who you’re renting from and who wants to rent your place but it also allows for hosts to pick, choose and refuse based on racial bias. And that’s not all. A Harvard Study published last year found that hosts are less likely to rent to guests with African American sounding names. Airbnb admits the problem exists. “We recognize that bias and discrimination present significant challenges, and we are taking steps to address them,” David King, head of diversity at Airbnb, said in a statement.
Have you ever used the site? What was your experience like?