An interracial couple traveling through Europe, responding to recent attention about the difficulties of using #AirbnbWhileBlack, said in a Huffington Post blog post their troubles finding lodging through the site have dramatically increased since they switched to a pair photo.
Originally, it was a simple modeling photo of me standing on a beach with a car. During the trip and since we were traveling as a couple, we made the decision to change the account profile picture to better reflect who we were. We changed our profile photo to a super cute selfie we took in Iceland and the response rate experience has declined ever since.
The pair, who describe themselves as “Victoria and Terrence, a model/photographer duo originally from Florida,” say Airbnb has essentially dismissed their concerns, since they’ve ultimately been able to find housing throughout an ongoing trip–though they say that’s only after numerous inquiries in each city they’ve visited.
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 three months in Europe. Out of every 8-10 places we reach out to that are in our budget, at least 60 percent turn us down with the same exact excuse.
A recent Harvard study found Airbnb users “with distinctively African-American names” are about 16% less likely to be accepted by hosts than those with distinctively white names.
If you have to erase your blackness to use a website, that website is enabling and rewarding racism. #AirbnbWhileBlack
— Dr. Crystal (@alwaystheself) May 6, 2016