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This post is a bit of a follow-on to @O_Apartments ’ post regarding racist guests.
I host in San Francisco. My listing describes the “urban, multicultural neighborhood” and specifically mentions its present/history as a predominantly African American residential neighborhood.
Still, I get a number of racist guests every year. My worst story this year is that of the threatening doorbell.
The guest checked in without incident, but later in the evening sent a message stating that he was taking his family out of the Airbnb and leaving San Francisco.
His reason? he claimed that a black man “kept ringing the doorbell and wouldn’t stop”, as well as that this black man was gesturing for him to come downstairs. He claimed that he felt the need to “protect his family”.
This guest called the police and (not kidding) asked for an escort out of the city. I have no idea how many times he had to call, how afraid he had to sound, or how much spare time the police had, but my cameras showed the police arriving about 6 hours later and him leaving with them. He messaged that the police had escorted him out of the city.
I checked my security cameras afterwards. The cameras showed that a black man rang the doorbell once, then waited, rang the doorbell a second time, looked at his phone and walked away. I can only guess that he had the wrong address. The guy did look up at some point. Maybe he said “Hello”? I have no audio on my cameras.
The guest later demanded a refund and was refused. The guest left a 2-star revenge review which Airbnb accepted.
What can I do about this? Not much. I’ve concluded that the racists don’t really read the description. I could ask guests if they are afraid of brown people after booking, but this would probably create tension and put them off. Maybe I could put photos of African-Americans in the listing to ward the racists away?
Perhaps it was a UPS or Fed Ex delivery person. I’m in Jersey and they also ring the doorbell when delivering boxes. It sounds like your recent guest was paranoid. Maybe you can say on our property description “racists not welcome.”
I live in “the best neighborhood” in my city and no reasonable person would ever imagine that anything sketchy is going on anywhere nearby but every once in a while I get a racist and I know who they are because they ask me about my neighbors. I wish I could make a house rule that says, “if you ask me about my neighbors, you will be asked to leave immediately”. When a guest says, “how are your neighbors around here?”, the response I want to give (and stay-tuned, because some day I might) is “the African American family next door is awesome so you should probably leave because I don’t want you making them uncomfortable”.
I just finished up with a case with Airbnb for a couple of guests that this was an issue with and they were terribly insistent with their racist issue and left after one night. Fortunately I had already called it in to Airbnb the first night because I could tell they were going be a problem. Unfortunately, the legal department/anti-discrimination dept contacted them right away the next day, but after they had already left at least (but, geez, since when does Airbnb do anything that quickly?). This caused a, fortunately distant and on the message system, blow-up with these guests who were now demanding a refund. Also, fortunately, guests were so stupid as to threaten giving me a negative review because I refused to refund them so that review is DOA.
You know, many hosts don’t have pictures of themselves on their profile. You could put a picture of a famous black person, like Frederick Douglass, although I notice he’s getting recognized more and more so guests might not take you seriously.
I have this picture in my listing and I’m thinking of moving it up to maybe the 5th picture. I live in El Paso where we just had a racially motivated massacre and my tolerance for hosting racists is less than zero now.
Do you have any local festivals or events in your neighborhood? A Farmer’s Market or Street Fair? Put up pictures of those events showing a diverse group of people. That might do the trick and no fault on you because you are just letting guests know about events in your area.
My house rules begin with the phrase “This host does not discriminate on the basis of . . .” with a bunch of parameters including gender identity and race. But we all know guests don’t read. I have signs on my lawn, too, but don’t feature them. I would hope that any intolerant guests would see all my signs, see the mixed demographic in the neighborhood, then have a lovely stay experience with me, and maybe adjust their perspective a bit. (For example, I have the 3 women’s face posters from the Women’s March, done by the artist who did the Obama Hope poster. And I did have someone ask me, “Who are those girls?” and was happy to explain.) But bluecoat’s post has me worried – that guest could have shot that innocent doorbell ringer.
Who learned to read on my block when taught (surreptitiously) by his owner’s wife.
OK, “urban multicultural” may suggest to folks a melange of white/black/Hispanic/Asian. Of even distribution or thereabouts. If that in fact is not the case, you might want to put it out there instead something like:
This listing is in Bayview-Hunters Point (or of course name of actual neighborhood), a historically African-American neighborhood written about by James Baldwin. Today our neighborhood continues to be The City’s principal African-American neighborhood, with growing communities of Chinese, Filipinos and Mexicans.
Get this front and center, along with the photos suggested above, and I would guess your problem would largely resolve, with guests self-selecting your place or a different area depending on preference.
@KKC, Since the first time you showed us this photo I have placed it in my two listings. Thank you! But it is still sad that at this point of time we should place such a statement to get rid of people with various preconceptions.
Truer words never said. And the selfish tone-deafness continues. Even here in my town where 22 people were massacred and thousands of lives changed forever people have to wear their NRA shirts and red MAGA hats in public and even carry their guns into Walmarts. I just don’t want them bringing their negative energy onto my property. I don’t have time to do a limpia after each guest.
I was raised colorblind. I have also traveled. We are in the business and personal direction of welcoming everyone. Anyone who makes another uncomfortable will be asked gently to cease and desist. And then not so gently.
Your guest did you a favour, bless his pointed little head.
I would never call a potential guest a racist if they asked what my neighbours were like. I would see those guests as wanting a peaceful and quiet holiday. If your guest asked you questions like what ethnicity your neighbours were? then I would worry.
All the best
Surely you are aware that eyewitness testimony, particularly by the untrained, is notoriously unreliable?
There were dozens, maybe hundreds, of eyewitnesses at the store and they almost all have recording devices with them. Hundreds of people texting hundreds of people at the time of the massacre. There are cameras all over the store inside and out. There are dozens if not hundreds of first responders who have been to the crime scene. You want to believe that hundreds of people who don’t know each other have all instantly been coerced into silence as part of a sinister conspiracy?
My explanation for Ms. Quezada? I’ve read a lot of things including posts on twitter and facebook that were just after the shooting saying all kinds of bizarre things. A lot of people want to try to get their “15 minutes.” Maybe she had a hallucination induced by trauma. Maybe she is just mentally unstable.
The only person I know personally who was anywhere close was my brother in law. He walks in the nearby enclosed mall that was evacuated after the shooting every morning when they open at 10 am. The shooting began around 10:30 am (if I recall correctly) in the parking lot. When he left the mall shortly after 11 he saw nothing, heard nothing. He drove the back way home, not on the freeway and was completely unaware of the shooting until people began calling him to make sure he was okay. Side note: he’s concealed carry holder and I wonder if he would have gone to the Walmart and tried to be a hero if he had seen gunmen or heard gunshots. Interesting that apparently no concealed or open carry folks were in a position to do anything. Even in a store that sells guns and ammo, no gun came to the rescue.
I tried to answer this query respectfully but this speculation borders on the insane. It’s so exhausting that these conspiracy theories are taken seriously by so many in our society.
On the morning of July 7th 2005, I got off the train as usual at London Liverpool St station to make my way to Aldgate Underground station. It was about 8.15 am.
Aldgate was closed, completely surrounded by police, including mounted, and other emergency services. No entry to the underground in any direction.
The bomb that went off was detonated at 8.49 am. Having lived in London during the IRA campaigns, I jumped in a taxi to get away quickly.
When I somehow made it home later that night, Mr J played me a recording of an interview with a Senior Anti-Terrorist Police Officer, given that morning at 8.30 am on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. In it, he detailed that the London Emergency services were carrying out a planned practice run for just such a terrorist event. So 19 minutes later there are a series of bombs detonated for real.
This recording had disappeared the following day. We kept a copy.
Edit to add that no one thinks it was scrubbed by the media, but by the government.