Noirebnb And Noirbnb Answers To #AirbnbWhileBlack

Airbnb isn’t doing enough to change the discriminatory practices on their site, so a few strong-willed black entrepreneurs took matters into their own hands.

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Noirbnb and Noirebnb are working together to help black people find a place to stay where they won’t be discriminated against.

The hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack allowed black users of Airbnb to share the unsettling stories about their experiences trying to using the service. Airbnb requires individuals register with their name and photo, a fact that has allowed many individuals to close their doors to black people.

#AirbnbWhileBlack

Strong black voices took to Twitter to air their grievances about Airbnb discrimination (source).

Last week, an Airbnb host from North Carolina was banned because of his racist language toward a Nigerian woman who wanted to reserve his home. Though CEO Brian Chesky released a public statement about the incident, via Twitter “Racism and discrimination have no place on Airbnb,” many black users are comforted by the idea of a service like Noirbnb, which would cater to the needs of black consumers.

Tech entrepreneur Rohan Gilkes began working on Noirebnb after being rejected twice when trying to book a house in Idaho. When a white friend attempted to book those same dates, there was no problem. Gilkes shared his story on Medium and received a slew of responses from individuals who also wanted to share their stories of discrimination by Airbnb. Gilkes hopes to have the service ready for launch within the next six weeks.

Meanwhile, entrepreneurs Ronnia Cherry and Stefan Grant have begun a similar mission with their project Noirbnb. When they rented an Atlanta house in October, the neighbors called the police on the residence suspecting the pair were attempting a robbery. Airbnb offered the pair free bookings as recompense, and though they met with Airbnb to discuss discrimination issues, they ultimately decided it was up to them to make a change.

For now, the two start-ups will remain separate entities, in spite of their similar aims. Regardless, the initiative taken by Gilkes and by Cherry and Grant is emblematic of the need to change racially charged perceptions on social media. Too many individuals have suffered from the discriminatory practices of people on Airbnb and it’s long past time for someone to do something about it.

As Gilkes told Atlanta Black Star, “There is a need to create something of a safe space. Where people feel like they can travel and spend their money and be treated well and feel dignity and be respectful… we can build something where we can feel empowered and feel good and not have that burden on us and that can also be inclusive and safe for people of all backgrounds.”

Photo source.

 


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