New study shows booking an Airbnb is harder if you have a "black-sounding" name

New study shows booking an Airbnb is harder if you have a "black-sounding" name
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| December 15 2015,

06:00 am

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

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

Have you had a similar experience? Share your story in the comments below.