Airbnb’s publicity problem is a Gordian knot: The company has tried to check pervasive racism in its sharing community with public statements and antiracist policies, but the company continues to make headlines when individual hosts refuse rentals to people of color.
Now Airbnb has teamed with the NAACP in the hopes of decreasing discrimination by partnering to recruit more minority hosts, according to The Verge.
“This 21st century partnership will create more economic opportunities for African American families, not less,” Aba Blankson, NAACP spokeswoman, told the New York Post. “By providing our membership with a pathway to become Airbnb hosts, we believe that we will help to make housing more affordable and drive income and economic activity to communities of color.”
Blankson is responding to complaints by detractors like Jumaane Williams, a Brooklyn Councilman and Chair of the Housing Committee. He argues the partnership is just a distraction from the ways online services like Airbnb help landlords to break tenant laws in New York City, according to the Post.
While Airbnb is meant to be a home sharing service, some landlords have illegally listed would-be rental units as shareable homes. Councilman Williams thinks a partnership with the NAACP will only expand such abuses of housing codes: “If I was the NAACP, I don’t know if I would be involved in this,” he told The Post.
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