I was unaware of the absurd commitment Airbnb requires homeowners to sign:
You commit to treat everyone—regardless of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age—with respect, and without judgment or bias.
Dalrymple responds in Taki’s Magazine:
Does it mean that one is committed to welcoming necrophiliacs into one’s home, or people like Dennis Nilsen, who liked to watch television with the corpses of the people he had killed sitting next to him (before cutting them up and flushing them down the lavatory)?…Did the framers of this oleaginous “commitment” mean that the owners of accommodations should take no notice if their potential lodgers are satanists, or members of the Ku Klux Klan, or Black Panthers, or soldiers of ISIS?
In short, the ridiculous “commitment” is demanded not because it will do any good, but because it exhibits the virtue of those demanding it. Those who demur from such a commitment…will nonetheless find themselves condemned for bigotry.
I was discriminated against once when trying to find a place to stay through Airbnb. I tried to book a night at a room in a home owned by a single young woman. I am a single young man. After requesting the room, the woman sent me a message saying that she was not willing to rent to men. I think she was afraid of being assaulted or attacked and being unable to defend herself. I thanked her anyway and found somewhere else to stay. I understood her concern and I didn’t mind that she was unwilling to rent to me.
She was respectful in her messages declining to do business with me. Does that mean that she followed the “respect” part of the commitment? Was she “biased” against men? I don’t think so – the statistics indicate that women are more likely to be attacked and harmed by men than by other women. Then again, did she exhibit bias against me in particular, by failing to investigate my character other than by guessing my “gender identity” and assuming that I was a risk? Were her actions “without judgment”? Probably not.
I think, if they are serious about this commitment, they should be more specific about what they are asking people to commit to. Are people committing to do business with everyone? Are they committing to do business with every type of person (both sexes for example)? Are they merely committing to be respectful when declining to do business? How can people ever act without judgment, and why should they if they could?
I think they did not have my case in mind when framing this commitment. I suspect that they are not very bothered by discrimination against men, but had in mind groups that are more commonly thought of as victims. Then again, the language of their commitment is vague enough that it’s not very clear what they mean at all. The doctor is probably right that it is a case of moral preening, of them trying to look good without saying or doing much.
How terrible, Bradford! I’m sure this discriminatory experience left you scarred for life! Your status as a victim must certainly provide you some means for extracting money from AirBnB for not taking such measures sooner!!!
I actually received the notification from AirBnB a couple of weeks ago and had a reaction similar to that of TD. I wondered why, if the company were really so interested in eliminating discrimination, it wouldn’t just remove details like age, sex, etc. from the profiles of users, as well as profile pictures. Even names should be removed since they may be an indication of origin (Lord knows those Kierans are a bunch of destructive, drunken Irishmen) or religion (Muhammads with their penchants for blowing things up). All users could simply be assigned a number and that would ensure no possibility of discrimination. Of course, comments referencing qualities like race, religion, age, sex, etc. would be prohibited to ensure the integrity of the process. Though the process of comments and ratings is itself discriminatory as those renting their apartments out will judge other users based on past experiences. The injustice!
I would never rent to a number with fewer than three distinct non-trivial prime factors.