Airbnb has been a prominent figure in the news due to discrimination accusations. After the viral sensation that was #AirbnbWhileBlack, alternative African American focused services such as Noirbnb and Innclusive have surfaced in response to the claims.
After he was hired to fix Airbnb's discrimination problems, we chatted with Eric Holder to discuss Airbnb's anti-discrimination policy, which stresses that users commit to treating all members without bias, regardless of race, religion, national origin, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age.
Now, it looks like there is a new development in the works!
According to the Washington Post, the NAACP has officially announced that they are teaming up with the home-sharing company in an effort to find more black hosts and to expand service to minority communities.
“For too long, black people and other communities of color have faced barriers to access new technology and innovations,” said Derrick Johnson, interim president and chief executive of the NAACP.
The NAACP touts this new venture as a “landmark partnership,” and Johnson specifically praised Airbnb for their role in bringing more economic opportunities to black communities.
“Our fastest-growing communities across major U.S. cities are in communities of color,” said Airbnb’s chief business affairs officer, Belinda Johnson, “And we’ve seen how home sharing is an economic lifeline for families.”
The partnership will include education on the economic benefits of hosting and will look at ways to increase the number of travelers staying in predominantly black neighborhoods.
Airbnb has pledged to share 20 percent of the money it takes in thanks to this new outreach with the NAACP. Furthermore,with the NAACP’s guidance, Airbnb hopes to increase its U.S. employee diversity rates from 9.6 percent to 11 percent by the end of the year.
Per a 2016 Airbnb New York host community study, the number of New York City Airbnb guests staying in predominantly black communities grew 78 percent year-over-year, compared to 50 percent citywide. Studies conducted in Chicago’s South Side and Washington, D.C.’s Anacostia neighborhoods showed even higher growth rates.
According to a Harvard Business School study, travelers with “black sounding names” found it 16 percent harder than their white counterparts to book a spot at Airbnb. Airbnb spokesman Nick Papas confirms the company is taking a “series of steps to fight bias and promote inclusion, including experimenting with reducing the prominence of guest photos in the booking process.”
Overall, this appears to be a move in the right direction!