Airbnb: Sorry for being racist
But we’re not changing the major problem
3:30 PMDon’t ever think a hashtag can’t affect change. Ever since #AirbnbWhileBlack took over Twitter a while back, it’s been an open secret that the online marketplace for rental properties was a place rife for discrimination of all sorts, much like the rest of the world. Who knew! On Thursday, the company released a plan to try to combat said problems, one that got former Attorney General Eric Holder involved.
There’s a lot to unpack here, pardon the pun. No. 1 is where this company began. Created in San Francisco, initially out of a desire to raise rent money, it blossomed into a full-blown startup with its founder Joe Gebbia even using his own site as a way to live for some while. But then it suffered from a classic case of not having enough people in the room.
The whole story is a fascinating case of implicit bias and an even better case study on how income inequality, even in 2016, affects leisure services and businesses in ways that make it feel more like the 1950s. Two years ago, Harvard Business School students examined this issue in a paper called “Digital Discrimination.”
“The raw data show that nonblack and black hosts receive strikingly different rents: roughly $144 vs. $107 per night, on average,” they wrote. “Nonblack hosts earn roughly 12 percent more for a similar apartment with similar ratings and photos relative to black hosts.” Of course, there’s a lot of math, regression models and analysis that brings them to such a conclusion. Basically, people are willing to pay more to not stay at a black person’s place.
The "sharing economy" was built predominantly by and for the needs of young white guys. #AirbnbWhileBlack
— Will Coldwell (@will_coldwell) April 29, 2016
— G. Sel (@_GSelden) May 4, 2016
As for what Airbnb is doing to improve, you have to wonder how effective the changes will be. There’s one fundamental issue that has not changed: The company is not eliminating pictures from profiles. Yes, there’s a safety mechanism involved in such a process, but theoretically, that could all be done privately to make bookings happen. By not changing the dynamic on the “what do you look like” level, all the same potential for discrimination is still there, even if you’ve finally admitted your service has a problem and there’s a mechanism to tell on people, so to speak.
It’s a good effort, and apparently an honest one, albeit from Airbnb. But with this nation’s history of housing discrimination, both legal and otherwise, the company has a chance to serve as a vessel for a discussion that a lot of people don’t feel comfortable having. It’s a lot more direct and a tad easier to digest than, say, the effects of redlining from yesteryear. But you’ve got to let everyone through the door, first.
Karl-Anthony Towns wants you to get out and vote
Timberwolves team up with Minnesota secretary of state for public service announcements
5:15 PMWhen it comes to professional basketball, Minnesota is officially the wokest state in America. On Wednesday, in conjunction with Secretary of State Steve Simon, the NBA’s Timberwolves launched a series of voter registration public service announcements designed to educate state residents ahead of the polls opening this fall. Of course, they don’t endorse any particular candidates, but they’re important nonetheless.
Featuring second-year star Karl-Anthony Towns, the first one is short and to the point. These ads are currently running on FOX Sports North in the state. As a friend put it to me, “Can you imagine a top 10 NBA player from a decade ago doing a sincere importance of voting PSA?”
My answer was simple: Absolutely not. Which is the most basic way to explain how far this league has come in terms of what social activism means to its players. Not everyone can get on an ESPYS stage and tell America that enough is enough. All players don’t necessarily feel empowered enough to wear an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt during warmups.
For younger guys such as Jabari Parker of the Milwaukee Bucks, who’s written eloquently about his hometown of Chicago for The Players’ Tribune on a couple of occasions, the activism isn’t necessarily as bold or as brazen, but for the impressionable kids watching at home, it can be equally effective. The softer diplomacy of community involvement on a level larger than just giving food to the homeless or basketball clinics (which are important in their own right) can work, too. Setting an example for young people that civic involvement is a necessary part of change is as good a reason to use the spotlight of the league as any.
Mind you, this is also the franchise that on the WNBA side players wore T-shirts in protest of gun violence and the community where Philando Castile was killed in front of a 4-year-old while riding with his girlfriend in a car. For a state with a population that’s 75 percent white, their hoopsters are as progressive as it gets.
Daily Dose: 9/7/16
Bill Cosby gets a court date
We’ve finally got a date for Bill Cosby’s trial. June 2017 is when we’ll see the well-known comedian finally face his accusers in a court of law. If you watched any of the footage Tuesday, you know that he’s not doing particularly well, health-wise. But the critical question here comes in whether or not a judge will allow other women who’ve accused him of drugging and raping them on the witness stand. If so, this trial takes on a totally different identity. ABC News reports on the latest developments.
In Tuesday night’s debut episode of Atlanta on FX, the topic of transphobia, among many things. was addressed. If you didn’t see it, there’s a fascinating scene that unfolds in a jail, involving a man seeing an old flame of his from high school. In an added twist that introduces the elements of anti-gay prejudice often so closely intertwined with it, a guy says, when referring to homosexual relationships in prison, “That’s not gay, that’s jail.” Anyway, check out this VICE Sports story about being a girl in the boys’ locker room in high school sports.
Oprah Winfrey’s got a new show out, as well. Queen Sugar is a program on her OWN network that was created in conjunction with director Ava DuVernay. I missed it Tuesday night, but am looking forward to it. Now, in her personal life, there are apparently rumors that Winfrey is possibly going to see wedding bells? I feel like these rumors are as old as I am. She’s responded, once again, but I still have no idea why people care so much about whom the media mogul chooses to spend her life with. Although the Chappelle’s Show skit is still funny.
As a basketball player, Stephen Curry’s appeal is obvious. Great shooter, great dribbler, fun passer and reasonably sized human. Particularly for kids, he’s a lot easier to mimic if you’re a young athlete with little experience. Head to a youth league game sometime soon. Every kid is shooting like Curry. But that’s in this country. How does that everyman appeal translate, in say, China? How about even better than here. The Golden State Warriors guard has been there all week and ESPN’s Darren Rovell tagged along.
Coffee Break: Rapper Drake is opening a strip club. Not just any one, though — one that only comes with the care, grace, respect and love that Drizzy could offer. Of course, it’ll be in Houston, but there’s something inherently funny about the Canadian rapper trying to launch a spot for sensitive thugs who want to contribute to college funds.
Snack Time: Details seem to be sparse right now, but Ferguson, Missouri, activist Darren Seals was found shot dead in a burning car on Tuesday in St. Louis County. It’s sad, it’s disturbing and a huge loss for the community.
Dessert: Rapper Anderson .Paak’s got a new live album out. It’s pretty dope.
Also, I’ll be joining SiriusXM FC (Channel 85) from 11 .am. to 2 p.m. for a special on soccer in the black community. Tune in.
All Day Podcast: 9/6/16
College football is back and the SXSL Festival is upon us
5:39 PMSummer might be over, but you know what that means? College football season has arrived, and the All Day Podcast crew is here to break down the best moments from Week 1.
Staff writer Justin Tinsley recaps perhaps the most exciting game of the weekend — a Texas upset of No. 10 Notre Dame — while podcast host Clinton Yates tackles the question of why Louisiana State struggles to produce a solid quarterback. With the NFL season starting this week, stay tuned for weekly chats about everything football.
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Also on the pod: A discussion surrounding an exciting upcoming event in the nation’s capital — the South by South Lawn Festival. Last week, it was announced that the White House will host this arts, film and music festival in October. In terms of music, the question is who will be taking their talents to the South Lawn stage. Senior style writer Jill Hudson has the perfect candidate to organize the musical lineup.
Our segment Missed Connections with Miss Karin is also back this week, in which Undefeated copy chief Karin Berry reads entries from the “Missed Connections” section of Craigslist.org and provides her own commentary. Keep a lookout for this segment on future podcasts.
Give it a listen, and if you have any feedback or show ideas, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daily Dose: 9/6/16
Obama is still righting wrongs committed by the U.S. military
12:22 PMAlright, kiddos. Labor Day is done, football has started and all the first days of school are behind us. It’s time to kick things into overdrive.
You know what sucks about school? Homework. The existential dread that exists for all of us who’ve ever sat in a classroom is something that you learn to manage, but never really enjoy. No one likes homework. All across the country, people have been questioning whether or not sending kids home with more tasks is an effective learning tool, so one school in Massachusetts is doing the smartest thing ever. They’re banning homework. I have no words for how genius this is. ABC News’ Morgan Winsor reports.
The Vietnam War was an extremely destructive process. We don’t even need to get into the human capital that were killed, injured or otherwise affected from an American standpoint, while the physical damage to the lands was extensive. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama pledged $90 million to help fix that in Laos, where the United States once held a secret bombing campaign. There are still bombs littered across that nation’s countryside, which is a terrifying thought. The president calls it a moral obligation.
Your boy spent two days stuck in Florida because of Hurricane Hermine. Daytona Beach is not that exciting of a place, but I can tell you that I know a whole lot more about NASCAR than I did when I left. Let’s just say that I spent a lot of time watching old guys smoke 100s while drinking beer out of Styrofoam cups. But the storm itself was interesting. Garden variety stuff for those parts, but I’d never been around anything that might be considered a hurricane. FiveThirtyEight’s Eric Holthaus explains from a meteorological standpoint why this storm was different.
So, football’s back. If you didn’t catch any of this weekend’s action on the gridiron, I don’t know what you were doing, because it was excellent. LSU lost a game the Tigers definitely should have won, and Florida State showed the country that the Seminoles are for real. On top of that, Tennessee got a huge scare from Appalachian State, which has been known to knock people down a peg. But the most interesting story of the weekend is probably Oklahoma, which got throttled by Houston in a game that many expected to be close, but not like that. Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops is in trouble, no doubt.
Coffee Break: I love a good revenge story. Particularly when it’s between two lovers when one is wronged. But this story of a woman setting fire to the wrong vehicle in an attempt to get back at her boyfriend is absolutely hilarious.
Snack Time: Things are a tad hectic over at Fox News right now. Roger Ailes was ousted recently, Gretchen Carlson was awarded $20 million to settle a sexual harassment suit and Greta Van Susteren straight up walked out on Tuesday. Wow.
Dessert: Come for the story, stay for the picture of the back of my head.
The other side of the tracks in Whistler
has some art gems that aren’t easy to find
Most people know about Whistler, British Columbia, from snowboarding. The town north of Vancouver, British Columbia, has hosted the Winter Olympics and is generally just considered a mecca for the sport. So tourism there is a huge deal. People come from miles away to not just board, but also hike and enjoy outdoor activities in the mountains. But there’s one spot that’s become a street art haven in a unique way.
It’s called the Whistler Train Wreck. An artificial accident created a site where old boxcars were overturned in a forest. Eventually, it got so popular that local tourism boards had to stop telling people to go there because the trails were too dangerous to guarantee safety. Anyways, the homeys over at Mass Appeal took a trip up there and brought their cans with them. Check it out.
Gary Rogers goes in-depth
in a new interview with the ‘No Jumper’ podcast
If you’re not familiar with the No Jumper podcast, don’t be upset. It’s a not exactly obscure, but certainly niche show that started last year in Los Angeles. It’s hosted by this guy Adam22 (née Adam Grandmaison), a BMX rider who started the website The Come Up about his craft. He’s also the creator of OSS (which stands for something we can’t print here), a brick and mortar store that’s about the whole culture, as well. Dude is OG as far as that scene goes.
Anyway, his latest interview is with Gary Rogers, host of the YouTube show SKATELINE, whom we’ve discussed before. He’s officially major at this point, and so an in-depth interview with him was well needed. Per usual with him, it’s a very vulgar chat, but he talks about everything from how he got into skating, where his YouTube show started, his Black Gold brand and music career.
He’s got Viceland show written all over him.