Here's yet another thing that's hard to do when you're black: using Airbnb.
Quirtina Crittenden, a 23-year-old black woman from Chicago, created the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack after she noticed how often she was turned down on the rental site.
“The hosts would always come up with excuses like, ‘Oh, someone actually just booked it’ or ‘Oh, some of my regulars are coming in town, and they’re going to stay there,’” Crittenden said in an NPR interview. “But I got suspicious when I would check back days later and see that those dates were still available.”
If you're not familiar with Airbnb, it's an alternative to hotels or apartments when you're traveling for a short or long period of time. On the website, renters and those renting out their space have to post a photo of themselves. Therefore, you can see the race of the person renting from you.
Since the creation of the hashtag, many other people have expressed similar experiences with Airbnb.
In response to the discrimination allegations, David King, Airbnb’s head of diversity and belonging, issued a statement to Mashable, saying, “We recognize that bias and discrimination present significant challenges and we are taking steps to address them.”
From my own Airbnb experience, I've listed my Virginia mountain lakefront home on the site and used my photo. Interestingly enough, I did notice that compared with homes that weren't as nice as mine, I rarely got bookings. It wasn't until I used a photo of a white woman and changed my first name to Kelly that I got more inquiries. Coincidence? Probably not.
It would be interesting to see the stats when it comes to black homeowners and how many people inquire about and book their space.