New study shows booking an Airbnb is harder if you have a "black-sounding" name
Hailing a cab is something that, unfortunately, is understood to be harder for black people than people of other races. There are endless accounts of being overlooked on the side of a street because of skin complexion, but a new study by Harvard professors shows a different kind of discrimination when it comes to rental giant Airbnb
Renters looking to book a place with the company saw different results depending on the races they were assumed to be by their names. Those with "white-sounding" names had a 50 percent bookingsuccess rate, while those with "African-American-sounding" names only had a 42 percent success rate
These results didn't change when price, number of people or the race of the host changed — across the board, those with "black-sounding" names struggled more to book a place. The professors used more than 6,000 fake, photo-less profiles in five different cities in their research. Baltimore, Dallas, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. Airbnbs all had similar results
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The researchers argue that Airbnb's transparent way of providing information (such as name, etc.) in the process of picking someone to rent to lets discrimination sneak through