Time Magazine recently reported on a study of bias in the “sharing” economy.
Users of accommodations-booking site Airbnb that have African-American sounding names are less likely to have their rental requests approved by potential hosts, according to a new report that highlights the difficulties minorities face when taking part in the sharing economy.
The study’s findings probably shouldn’t come as a surprise; we have literally mountains of data demonstrating similar results among job-seekers.
This particular report joins daily news reports of attacks on Mosques and Muslims, pushback against efforts like “Black Lives Matter,” and of course, the increasingly unhinged and unapologetic racism of Donald Trump (which has thus far been met with only tepid condemnation from most of the other GOP candidates).
I doubt that Americans will ever be able to have a truly frank, open discussion of race and racism. Even the eruption of long-suppressed animus in the wake of Obama’s election has been met with denial; the existence of overwhelming, vicious hatred directed at the First Family has been denied, or–if admitted–attributed to Obama’s “leftism” (what a joke that is!) or other personal deficits.
And before I get angry posts to the effect that it is legitimate to disagree with the President’s actions and priorities, of course it is. Criticisms of policies are perfectly reasonable. No one–certainly not this writer–is suggesting that any President is beyond reproach, or that he, or any other political figure, should not be subject to criticism based upon performance.
But let’s get real.Only the willfully blind can miss the obvious: the extent to which the ferocity of attacks on the President and First Lady are based upon the President’s perceived “otherness.”
Racism has been called “America’s Original Sin.” It’s time we dealt with it.
I certainly don’t have a magic wand, nor do I know how to change a culture that accommodates categorizing people on the basis of religion or skin color or sexual orientation. I do know that we can’t solve problems when we refuse to admit they exist.
And we definitely have a problem.