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Airbnb Gives In To Regulator's Demand To Test For Racial Discrimination By Hosts (theguardian.com) 251

As part of an agreement with California regulators, Airbnb will allow the government to test for racial discrimination by hosts. The Guardian reports: The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) announced Thursday that it had resolved a complaint it filed against Airbnb with an agreement that forces the company to permit the state to conduct "fair housing testing" of certain hosts. That means that for the first time the San Francisco-based company is giving a regulatory body permission to conduct the kind of racial discrimination audits that officials have long used to enforce fair housing laws against traditional landlords. The DFEH's original complaint -- which had not previously been disclosed -- was based on research and a growing number of reports suggesting that hosts regularly refuse to rent to guests due to their race, a problem exposed last year under the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack.
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Airbnb Gives In To Regulator's Demand To Test For Racial Discrimination By Hosts

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 28, 2017 @08:47PM (#54322951)

    Of course there's discrimination. I'll rent to who I want, fuck you!

    • Of course there's discrimination. I'll rent to who I want, fuck you!

      There are laws against that. Lots of them.

      • That's true. There are laws against it. However, that's not how it should be. As the owner of your property, you have the right to discriminate [fee.org]. This is the same reason why the flower arrangement case makes no sense [mises.org]; there is no reason anyone should be forced to buy or sell from anyone. Is that not freedom of association and protection of private property? In fact, the market relies [mises.org] on your ability to discriminate between products and services; labor and renting are only a few of those.

        Now, unfair discrimin

        • by karmatic ( 776420 ) * on Saturday April 29, 2017 @12:51AM (#54323731)

          "In any case, anytime anyone practices such âoediscriminationâ in the free market, he must bear the costs, either of losing profits or of losing services as a consumer. "

          Often, discrimination pays well.

          With nightclubs in particular, enforcing a dress code for the purpose of removing most black patrons can result in wealthier clients, and higher tickets. Some restaraunts get less hassle, better tips, and less monopolization of tables by large groups, as well as fewer dine and dashes. That's why many restaraunts require pre-pay after 10, or won't split the bill for large groups (so they can hold any one person liable for the bill if several run). Those policies tend to mysteriously not get enforced when you have a white family show up.

          There's an assumption that when you fire the customer you make less money. That's far from true, and in many cases, the reverse is true. Many "customers" aren't worth it.

          • by hawk ( 1151 )

            Sounds like dumb owners.

            In that case, it would make more sense to institute a dress code to get wealthier clients and higher tickets . . .

            hawk

          • I cases where discrimination pays well, people are willing to pay a premium to avoid having to deal with certain kinds of people (whatever type that may be). Those people are losing. Maybe the business can make a larger profit by catering to those people, but someone is losing in this bargain. However, as for the discriminated against, they are only losing the voluntary cooperation of the one selling the service, which they have no right to anyway -- voluntary transactions are called voluntary for a reason.

        • by Tom ( 822 )

          Oh I love it when Ignoramus Anonymous trouts of free market nonsense.

          When is the last time you saw an actual free market? You know, the one with an infinite number of buyers and sellers, perfect transparency, zero handling costs and no barriers of entry?

          That's right, the whole free market thing is a purely theoretical model. It is not a real economical theory. It's the economists equivalent to the physicist saying "let's ignore friction and assume a perfect sphere in a vacuum..."

          You need to adapt it to the

          • When is the last time you saw an actual free market? You know, the one with an infinite number of buyers and sellers, perfect transparency, zero handling costs and no barriers of entry?

            I can hear the scraping sound of goalposts being dragged.

          • I think you need to double-check your definition of free market. It is unrelated to "an infinite number of buyers and sellers, perfect transparency, zero handling costs and no barriers of entry." I think you're thinking about perfect competition. For your convenience, here is a definition:

            The free market is a summary description of all voluntary exchanges that take place in a given economic environment. Free markets are characterized by a spontaneous and decentralized order of arrangements through which individuals make economic decisions.

            (Investopedia)

            • by Tom ( 822 )

              Maybe not take a neo-conservative website for definition? Their summary is as short as it is misleading, mostly because they try to get to the point fast and do some handwaving.

              Here's a critical article:

              http://www.triplepundit.com/20... [triplepundit.com]

              But in the end, maybe we should discuss the book, and not the cover?

  • Sespool (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 28, 2017 @08:49PM (#54322955)

    Is it me or are all these gig economy companies shady as hell? They treat their people badly, discriminate and generally do things that real non scams can't get away with.

    Am I the only milenial that stays in hotels and rents cars or takes taxied when I travel???

  • Didn't take long for the "internet racist" to show their ugly faces. I almost feel sorry for them. They have to live their lives never being able to openly express who they are, for fear of being exposed. They have to live and work around "dirty" minorities and can never tell them what truly think of them. Their world gets smaller and smaller everyday until the internet is all they will have left.
    • by karmatic ( 776420 ) * on Friday April 28, 2017 @10:56PM (#54323365)

      "Didn't take long for the "internet racist" to show their ugly faces."

      Well, sure, there are plenty of them.

      "They have to live their lives never being able to openly express who they are, for fear of being exposed."

      Not particularly. I'm racist in person, too. I can sit there hiding, or I can work to proselytize. Most people are racist to some degree - it's amazing how people behave when they are in private, particularly if you start with things that they have already started to observe on their own.

      "They have to live and work around "dirty" minorities and can never tell them what truly think of them."

      The issue isn't that "minorities" are "dirty". The problem is that statistically speaking, there are differences in median IQ between populations, and that culture is a function of that population. As IQ tends to correlate reasonably well with the ability to function in a modern western society, "minorities" tend to bring with them higher crime and other societial ills. Diversity compounds this.

      "Their world gets smaller and smaller everyday until the internet is all they will have left."

      Not particularly. Have you seen the alt right recently? It's getting more and more acceptable to be racist in public, and the internet is making it easier and easier for us to mobilize, organize, and recruit.

      For those of us who want intellectual honesty and race realism, the internet has been a godsend.

      • There is nothing civil about racism. Those who discriminate no race or ethnicity are ... bad.

    • Didn't take long for the "internet racist" to show their ugly faces. I almost feel sorry for them.

      You mean racists like folks who advocate putting quotas on how many Asians are accepted to universities and high-paying jobs because they tend to do better than whites? Affirmative action against whites I can kinda understand. The operating premise being that in the past whites obtained their power, influence, and money partially by repressing minorities. And that the aftereffects of those past transgressi

      • If you browse through their listings, the vast majority of properties are listed by landlords doing short-term rentals as a business.

        Lets accept this as a fact.

        So what? Why even mention it?

        What you are doing now it getting involved in those landlords personal business. If you wouldnt fuck with a single mom waitress that is renting out a room for a little extra money, then you also shouldn't fuck with people that do it as their primary income.

    • Didn't take long for the "internet racist" to show their ugly faces. I almost feel sorry for them. They have to live their lives never being able to openly express who they are, for fear of being exposed. They have to live and work around "dirty" minorities and can never tell them what truly think of them. Their world gets smaller and smaller everyday until the internet is all they will have left.

      Why is it that businesses are only required to enforce certain rights?

      Equal and fair commerce for all races and religions I can understand.

      I can even understand how corner cases crop up where opposing rights come into conflict - not having to make a wedding cake for gay people, for instance. It wasn't entirely clear which right had precedence before the courts sorted it out.

      But businesses are allowed to curtail freedom of speech in any way they want. Facebook bans conservatives more than liberals, Google i

      • The nazis used to have book burnings, and the situation at Berkeley sounds a lot like what the nazis used to do in the beginning.

        The NAZI's raised an entire generation in preparation.

        They infiltrated the schools first. Hitler formed Jungsturm and Stabswache in the early 1920's. The former blossoming into the "Hitler Youth", the later into their "S.S."

        Fascism comes from the left because it starts in the schools.

    • So, how many times have your rented out your house to black people, and how was your overall experience ?

    • Plenty of minorities show racism to other minorities. It only becomes a problem if honkeys do it.

  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Friday April 28, 2017 @09:41PM (#54323125)
    That's great news. We can't let people rent their own property to who they choose. They could end up discriminating against people who they believe will steal stuff or trash the place.
    • If you can't play by the rules, get out of the business. You can still rent to whomever you want, just don't advertise your place to the public. Can still be a bigot, I have no problem with that, but you can't take advantage of a system designed to be fair to all to do it.
      • Obviously the system wasn't designed to be fair to all as you claim. It wasn't even designed to be fair to anyone who wants to rent property, as you would like to claim. If it was designed that way in the first place then the far left wouldn't be at all concerned about this and wouldn't be doing this.
      • Or, just do like most places do and hide it. I can come up with any number of excuses.

        So, you still get discrimination, but we have to lie about it. Great.

  • Why are almost all comments in this thread posted by Anonymous Cowards?
    • by Tom ( 822 )

      Because we live in a post-political-correctness world, where you are shouted down as racist, sexist, nazi or whatever if you have a not-approved-by-the-mainstream-police uncomfortable opinion. Some of those opinions actually are some or all of those things, but once people realised that it's an easy way to shut someone up, the labels expanded dramatically. You are now labeled a rape-culture sexist if you point out that "equal rights" also means men have rights. You are labeled a slave-holder racist if you p

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        So in a way, the whole shouting match is because the non-racists are afraid to face an uncomfortable fact or two that might shake their simplified world-view.

        I think this is a larger part of the dynamic you described than anyone talks about. It's kind of obvious that 85% of what a garden variety "racist" believes is false or unfair, but 15% is closer to true than not true, which makes the 85% seem *possibly* true and believable.

        The anti-racists won't discuss, debate or even acknowledge the 15% and go into full-on denial, name-calling, etc, which reinforces the 15% in the minds of "racists", which in turn reinforces the other 85% as likely true as well, further

  • idiotic (Score:2, Insightful)

    Certain groups statistically commit more crimes. Why the hell should I ignore math, science, and logic and pretend that's not true? It's my fucking house.
    • Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe criminality is more closely correlated to socio-economic forces than race. When you adjust for income your argument completely falls apart, and that's precisely what what we're doing when we sell or rent a commodity at a certain price/rate.
      • When you adjust for income your argument completely falls apart

        Not really. There's still a correlation between race and crime, and that's all you need to know when you decide who can rent your house. If it were easy to find out someone's income or socioeconomic status, I'm sure people would take that into consideration as well.

        • Doesn't it make more sense to go by site reputation? If a black guy has lots of good Airbnb reputation, you're still not going to rent to him? That's pretty much indefensible racism if you ask me.
          • Doesn't it make more sense to go by site reputation?

            If they have been renting enough times to build a good reputation, sure.

          • It does, as long as the individual in question has a significant history with the site, and the site takes reasonable measures to protect the integrity of their rating system.

            "If a black guy has lots of good Airbnb reputation, you're still not going to rent to him?"

            Generalizations serve a useful role when someone doesn't have history. We often don't have experience with which to judge a person, so we have to generalize based on what we are able to judge of a person.

            Once we have good enough data on a person

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Imagine people with your colour eyes statistically committed more crimes. You try your best to be a good person, to better yourself, to get on in life... But doors keep slamming in your face.

      You apply for jobs you are well qualified for, but don't even get an interview. Eventually you find somewhere but they want to pay you less than your graduate friends. And you can't take it anyway, because no one will rent to you.

      Would you accept that as fair, or would you want the law changed to stop it? What would you

      • Would you accept that as fair

        Depends. Statistically speaking, it's a fair response. Individually speaking, it's not.

        I'm a guy. Sometimes I walk through the park at night. Sometimes there happens to be a woman walking in front of me. She gets nervous, because there's a guy walking behind her. It's not fair, but I can't blame her.

      • Re:idiotic (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Saturday April 29, 2017 @09:27AM (#54324767)

        Imagine people with your colour eyes statistically committed more crimes.

        ok I am now imagining that the hazel eye gene is significantly correlated with crime statistics.

        You try your best to be a good person, to better yourself, to get on in life... But doors keep slamming in your face.

        Smart people slamming those doors. I havent forgotten about the statistical significance yet, have you? Lets see.

        You apply for jobs you are well qualified for, but don't even get an interview. Eventually you find somewhere but they want to pay you less than your graduate friends. And you can't take it anyway, because no one will rent to you.

        If nobody will rent to me, then that statistical significance must be really significant. Hazel eyed people are apparently the scourge of the earth in the world you have me imagining.

        Would you accept that as fair...

        no

        or would you want the law changed to stop it?

        no

        Did you realize that a false dichotomy doesnt make your point?
        Did you realize that you clearly forgot about the statical significance aspect of the whole thing?

        Rational people act on statistical significance. Rational people can also make an argument without resorting to a logical fallacy.

        What would you do at that moment?

        Life isn't always fair. Deal with it.

        Beyond the narrative here, this is government thugs interfering with things for their own personal benefit. You know whats better than Hotel lobbyists giving you free shit so that you go after AirBnB? Better than that is forcing AirBnB into the lobbyist game at the same time.

        You should be talking about the oppressive zoning laws throughout much of California, but you are talking about fairness while painting a clever picture that attempts to provoke empathy, and you punctuate that story-time by invoking a logical fallacy, and that fallacy itself is strongly suggesting that you think that people should be forced by government to do the opposite of what a rational person would do, which is to pay close attention to statistically significant data and act in accordance with it.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          The logical fallacy is that you assume that eye colour is an indicator of likely behaviour. It's not, correlation is not causation and you have a right to be treated as an individual.

          Consider for a moment that the very basis of our legal system is "innocent until proven guilty". What you are arguing is that because of statistics the system should be weighted to assume people with hazel eyes require a lower standard of proof to convict. That's essentially what black people face now, and it's fundamentally un

      • "Imagine people with your colour eyes statistically committed more crimes."

        Ok. That's easy. I'm Mexican, so we do statistically commit more crimes. I'm relatively light skinned, though, so in the winter I'm generally seen as white.

        "But doors keep slamming in your face"

        Ok. I support the right of voluntary association and don't want anyone forced into doing business with me.

        "You apply for jobs you are well qualified for, but don't even get an interview."

        Oh, so like when I was qualified and able to legally

  • Wow, that's going to clash.

    On the one hand, yes racism is stupid and backwater countryside last-century silly.
    But on the other hand, this isn't some hotel room, this is, for many people, theirs home (or holiday home, or whatever). They should be able to decide who to let in, based on whatever criteria they want, including racism, sexism and I-don't-like-people-in-suits.

    We will see these kind of things happening more and more as the "gig economy" blurs the line between the private and the business world.

    • by slk ( 2510 )
      "Three or more listings" means that it's almost certainly not their home. This isn't targeting somebody renting out a spare bedroom, this is targeting people using AirBNB to run a business.
    • Rampant racism can KILL Airbnb. Besides, racism doesn't belong in a civilized society.

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