Interracial Couple Speaks About their Experience of Discrimination on Airbnb
When the article "Black Airbnb users get snubbed more as their photos make them a target for racial profiling by hosts, guests" aired recently, an interracial couple (Victoria and Terrence - pictured) responded to it, talking about their experiences while trying to find a place to stay while on tour in Europe.
Public Advocate Letitia James wrote a letter to the apartment-sharing website saying there was enough evidence that the site "enables widespread discrimination against hosts and guests based on their race.” She wanted the company to scrap the use of profile pictures for all of its users because these photos were used to discriminate against colored hosts and guests, citing evidence from two studies by Harvard University.
‘OMG THANK YOU FINALLY SOMEONE WRITES ABOUT THIS!’ was the reaction of the interracial couple who has strictly been using Airbnb for the past 3 months they have been traveling. They too have experienced discrimination - "...the experiences [of] booking homes got progressively worse and worse." They narrate:
Your perfect partner could be online right now...
What are you looking for?
"It started slowly but has gotten much worse, especially in large cities. For us, the problem lies in hosts having their listing open and available for booking. When we send them a message asking a few questions about the listing and transportation, they often respond saying they are sorry but the listing is already booked or unavailable for the days we requested (although the dates are completely free on their calendar).
We are talking about the people who respond saying their listing isn’t open and don’t give an explanation. The people who keep their listings open for others to book even when they tell us they aren’t open. The people who talk with us and discover we are a couple and then offer the place to someone else.
We have called Airbnb and explained our experience and our thoughts on the process. They responded with ‘well it looks like you have had success booking with tons of people so far!’ What Airbnb doesn’t know is the hoops we have to jump through and stress we must endure to procure the places we have booked during our 3 months in Europe. Out of every 8-10 places we reach out to that are in our budget, at least 60% turn us down with the same exact excuse."
When the rejections began with a few cities, it didn't really bother them much until it kept happening constantly across Europe; leaving them stressed and frustrated. So they wondered what had suddenly changed since they were getting accepting initially.
Then it dawned on them: THEIR PROFILE PICTURE!!!
The initial profile picture was a photo of Victoria. Somewhere along the way while traveling with her boyfriend - makes sense coz I mean they were traveling as couple - they put up a picture of the two of them. That's the time when the rejections started. They realzed they never had a problem with Airbnb up until the time their profile picture changed from a picture of a white woman to that of a black man/white woman interracial couple.
"It Is unfortunate that we were able to book with ease in the past and a simple profile picture change has caused us much trouble. The situation is tough and institutionalized racism is the obvious the cause. While we aren’t sure we agree with banning profile photos, something must be done. With two university studies and hundreds of guests backing up this article, It is time for Airbnb to step up to the plate and brainstorm viable solutions."
Have you had a similar experience? Do share and let's bring such discrimination to the limelight.
For more about the supposed discrimination on Airbnb, read full article on NyDailyNews.com
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