‘Airbnb of colour’ promotes segregation and can only makes racism worse
I feel sort of ignorant because until last week, I didn’t realise versions of Airbnb for people of colour was a thing.
Ignorant because services like Noirbnb have been around for at least a year, and more are cropping up all the time, but I have somehow managed to miss this trend.
In case you didn’t know, these alternatives have come into existence because there have been a number of high-profile reports of host racism on Airbnb in recent years.
Like the woman who had her reservation cancelled at the last minute because she was Asian, for example. Or the ones aired out via the #Airbnbwhileblack hashtag.
These experiences are prompting travellers of colour to build and seek out alternative platforms where there isn’t a possibility of being discriminated against.
My ignorance has perhaps stemmed from the fact that as an ethnically Chinese woman, I’ve never experienced racism while travelling, so I have never felt the need for an alternative platform.
The few times I’ve used Airbnb have all been positive and the hosts I’ve had were more than helpful.
The host I had in Bristol followed up to check I had a good time; the one I had in Santiago, Chile, was very keen to share his tips of the city with me; and the one I stayed in with my parents in Valencia even walked with us to the taxi stand so we wouldn’t get lost.
Maybe I have been very lucky in my travels to date, because the same experience has clearly not been shared by everyone.
The fact is, some travellers do feel like we need Airbnbs of colour.
To be clear, Airbnb is actively trying to promote diversity. As well as a clearly sign-posted anti-discrimination policy, they have also recently hired a Director of Diversity and Belonging.