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Airbnb host denies room to Asian guests

by Tegan Mazur - Copy Editor
Mon, Apr 17th 2017 09:15 pm
Photo taken from Telegraph News on Twitter

Dyne Suh (above) was refused a room, despite letting the host know of the changes and having been prepared to pay for extra costs. The host denied the guest access due to her Asian background.
Photo taken from Telegraph News on Twitter Dyne Suh (above) was refused a room, despite letting the host know of the changes and having been prepared to pay for extra costs. The host denied the guest access due to her Asian background.

 Honestly, understatement is the only tool I have left in the box at this point so here it is: we have really got to stop being racist guys, seriously. 

Dyne Suh is a 25-year-old American law student. In February she and her fiancé booked an Airbnb lodging. Then she asked the host to add two more people into the room she booked and two dogs onto the lodging as well, which the host agreed to. However, on the way up to the lodging, Suh texted the host again asking how to pay for the extra guests. The host at this point became racist and irate, saying that she would not be told what to do and that she was not going to host Suh (who has lived in America for 22 of her 25 years of life) because she was Asian. According to The Washington Post article, "One word says it all. Asian: Airbnb host reportedly leaves guest stranded because of her race" by Amy B. Wang, the woman texted Suh saying, "One word says it all. Asian," as well as, "That's what we have Trump for." Suh and her companions were caught in a snowstorm at the time but, luckily the Airbnb company reimbursed Suh and compensated them for the alternative place they stayed at for the night.

There is not a lot to dissect here, no subtle micro-aggressions or complex back-and-forth, no grand web of social dynamics to consider. It's quite cut-and-dry. This is not a story about Airbnb, it's a story about racists. I won't say that Airbnb can burn for this or that it was negligence or that it owes its customers better. It's really not the company's fault. I do think that the steps Airbnb plans to take to ensure that this does not happen again are admirable and warranted for sure, but like I said, the company is not at fault.

According to The Washington Post article, "Racial bias in everything: Airbnb edition," by Emily Badger, studies done specifically on Airbnb found that hosts are statistically no more racist than the general population of America. So the issue really isn't Airbnb, it's America overall.

The simple fact is that the fault in this scenario goes to all us white people. Whether you're humble enough or productive enough to admit it, white people are racist. We all get the race card of privilege shoved up our sleeve the moment we're born. We're just as implicated in privilege, whether you're an overt, practicing racist or liberal, intersectional activist. People are out practicing racism, everything from killing innocent lives to refusing people of color service, and all because of the tint of their skin. 

I know it's hard. I know that no one wants to admit they're the villain, and I know white guilt sucks, but honestly no one cares. 

Our response to racism has been lukewarm to dangerous. We have the privilege and we have the power, whether we want it or not we should be putting it to good use. The reason that woman refused to house Suh and her fellow passengers is because she is a racist and she knew she could get away with it. Suh could talk to that woman until she was blue in the face, and it wouldn't change anything. There are racists out there who will never change, and they need to be put in their place. We need to make racists afraid, they need to know that they are not allowed to practice their racism, that their attitudes are not welcome, and that there will be harsh backlash for when they express such ignorance.

White people however, are not the heroes of racial equality; we are the sidekicks. We take on the cheap shots so the real heroes can save the day. If we live in a country where people cannot go on vacation without having it ground to a halt because of racism, then something is wrong on a titanic scale. This story does not illuminate some seedy company's true nature, it illuminates our seedy country and its true inner workings.

 I'm not saying we should pack up all the racist people and fling them into the sun, though now that I write it out it doesn't sound like such a bad idea. What I'm saying is that white people need to make it loud and clear that racism has no place in this world. The next time racist Airbnb hosts think about trying to instill fear in someone of a different race than themselves, they should have to think twice about how the nation will rally against them, not cite the president of that nation as a 'Trump card' to do whatever they want.


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Taken by Mathieu Starke, staff photographer

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