Have You Faced Discrimination When Using AirBnB or Social Media?

I just happened to see an article about how a Hollywood children’s show producer was discriminated against by an AirBnB host because that producer was upfront about being a transgender. The host, who has a son, was uncomfortable about this. In the middle of the article, the writer mentions that the producer was motivated by reading that black AirBnB guests were discriminated against by AirBnB hosts. One of the surprising facts one study focused on AirBnB discrimination uncovered was that a few of the hosts who discriminated against other blacks guests were themselves black. Hmmm…interesting. And to make matters worse for us, apparently black hosts get paid 12% less than nonblack hosts because guests discriminate. Not sure how that breaks down; in other words, of all the discrimination against black hosts by nonblack guests, what percent of it was pure racism vs the host not being as good at negotiating as the nonblack guest? My hunch is the former (more guests are just taking advantage of racial animus to try to get over on us), but perhaps a few of us may need to brush up on negotiation skills. If you are a host in the hood, according to the study, you get hit even harder.

I’ve never used AirBnB as a guest or host so this info is quite unfortunate but not surprising. But action needs to be taken.

One 23 year old lady said she was upfront about her race by using her own photo. According to more experienced black guests, that’s a no no. They use generic photos of cities or landscapes and if their name sounds kinda hood, they use more mainstream names. The same discrimination study said that they did a sample of different profiles spanning ethnic/racial groups and send AirBnB requests to hosts in a few major U.S. cities, including right here in Dallas (oh boy), all geographic regions. The results were the same: if your name sounds hood and young, then you are 16% less likely to be successful in getting an AirBnB place to stay.

But that begs the question: Is the discrimination due to them being (1) both black AND young, (2) black, or (3) young? I say this because, as mentioned, the study found that even a few black hosts discriminated against black guests. If the photos are black but have mainstream names and the guests were older, would the results be exactly the same, or would older black guests have a little better time than younger brothas and sistas?

My suggestion is that AirBnB, and other sharing economy platforms, need to add “Discrimination Rating” to the reviews so that we can give hosts 1-5 stars based on our experiences as guests and hosts. This rating can then be used as an opportunity for some people to grow up and get out of that mindset of discriminating based on the wrong qualities. Discriminating based on one guest paying higher than another is fine, but basing it on race is ridiculous. The study went on to say that those hosts who did discriminate had a tough time finding replacement guests.

Also, apparently there are some forms of discrimination on Facebook and other social media platforms. We already heard about the complaints that Facebook’s trending topics discriminated against conservatives, so does it also discriminate against us? What are your experiences? Hit us up in the comments below or by direct message…

John the CEO

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