Like any medium in this world, in travel anywhere racism will always exist on both sides, it is and always will be universal, but I always try to give a person the benefit of doubt. On two separate trips I attempted to rent property from the site Airbnb, a place where people rent out their property for visiting their city. The rates are far cheaper than a hotel and you get an entire house and in some cases rent a room within a house whatever your travel needs may be. You choose the property that interests you and if it is vacant during your dates of travel. If it you email the owner and if it is free you rent it and it is yours for whatever amount of time you’ll be using it.
On two occasions I attempted to rent property through Airbnb at homes that were clearly vacant during my travel, and on both occasions I was denied, the owner saying the their property was always rented which I found odd. Now in my profile I had a picture of myself, one property was owned my a lady and one by a man so I decided to change everything making myself a white middle aged white lady that loves cats, traveling with her church. Emailed the exact some properties and you guessed these properties were now available. But for a 40 year old black man it not free.
In September of 2016 accusations of racism and profiling by Airbnb were brought to light. It took Airbnb some time to address these issues, even apologizing. The majority of the complaints were from African-American’s – and if you didn’t have face picture posted, owners would profile by your name and if it sounded ‘ethnic’ more than likely they would not be renting their property to you and that was a PR nightmare for a company that provides housing for people around the world visiting another country or state.
Now in the first half of this year Airbnb is attempting to change this policy. No matter what Airbnb attempts to do to change this, if they can do anything at all, it is still at the property owners discretion, so there is still no guarantee anything will change and truthfully I don’t think it will. It took the owners far too long to even address the issue. I am sure there are plenty people of color that have had a positive experience with Airbnb and I’m sure the majority of the property owners will rent to people of color – but for this 40 year old black man turned middle aged white woman that loves cats and the Lord two attempts were enough for me. And out of curiosity when I did visit these two countries I went on the website and to no surprise the properties I attempted to rent were vacant.