NPR reports:

They sent out 6,400 requests to real AirBnb hosts in five major American cities—Baltimore, Dallas, Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Washington.

All the requests were exactly the same except for the names they gave their make-believe travelers. Some had African American-sounding names like Jamal or Tanisha and others had stereotypically white-sounding names like Meredith or Todd.

Luca and his colleagues found requests with African American sounding names were roughly 16 percent less likely to be accepted than their white-sounding counterparts. They found discrimination across the board: among cheap listings and expensive listings, in diverse neighborhoods and homogenous neighborhoods, and with novice hosts as well as experienced hosts. They also found that black hosts were also less likely to accept requests from guests with African American-sounding names than with white-sounding ones.

The research goes on to say that African-American sounding names were around 16 percent less likely to be accepted than white-sounding names. In a twist, the research also found that Black folks didn’t like renting to Black folks either.

To cut down on the discrimination, it has been suggested that names and photos either be omitted, or not be featured so prominently. To that, AirBnB says that both are needed to ensure that people are renting their homes to the people they are actually communicating with.

Some renters however have come up with their own solutions, one of them being let their “white friend” do the renting for them.

Click over to see more screenshots of “Tina” getting turned away.


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