No matter how much success you have you’re still a scary black man to some people.

“You can trust me, I’m not like the other black people who ask you for your Airbnb, I have a nanny.

Sucks to read it, but I said it, well not in so many words. I coded it, I’m “different”, judge me if you want, sometimes you gotta use all the ammo you got.

Thank God I’ve never considered myself “a success”…it makes the slap of discrimination sting less, which you’ll get a feel for below.

The company I founded … we’ve been awarded awards from:
Inc 5000
fastest growing company, Inner City 100, Philly 100 all multiple years, so I made it, right?? Not so fast.

I speak at conferences globally, Brazil, Scotland, London, Peru, Dublin, Turkey, in the last year. So I Made it, right? Not so fast.

My company is profitable, pretty damn profitable. I’m not on this list, but I’m doing OK, so I made it, right?. Not. So. Fast.

In spite of all that “success” I still had someone see my photo and choose NOT to share their home with me on Airbnb. Now maybe, just maaaaybe the dude made a mistake, but this is the cognitive load of being black. Code, don’t code, hoodie up when its cold, or keep it down so you aren’t threatening, there’s a lot of mental back and forth, even for a guy like me who lives in a city and is insulated from a lot of this crap.

My wife and I are looking for a long term Airbnb, I found an option available, it was declined. After hearing about airbnbwhileblack my radar has been up to declines on the Airbnb platform since I use them more and more.

Recently I submitted a request for dates that were available. I got back, a simple…SORRY. That’s it, at this point most of you would move on, but I gotta stop and think, hmmmm, you said you had availability…why not now? And why has this happened 2x in the same day?

But wait, I got all the reviews, see I’m Good!! Don’t even get me started on getting pulled over, which I have been a few times (every time I deserved it, and every time I was treated fairly to very well all by white cops).

FAIL!!! I had received 2 rejections that day for people who had availability, we’re still holding out for the first one to see when he takes his listing down, as of right now, Airbnb is investigating and my attempt to bait one guy failed.

So to see if this guy was discriminating or not, my wife, 24 hours later hit him up, originally asking for 2 weeks, but then asked for an extension well past my dates, which he approved (its the same chick, this guy really was slipping).

I don’t blame the guy for rejecting, hey its probably his bias, we all have bias, but that doesn’t mean I gotta like it. This guy could have slipped and made a mistake, but I gotta wonder, hmmm is there a reason there? Maybe, maybe not, but tonight I gotta go to bed thinking…hmmm, if I was white I would have been approved by this one, and maybe the 4–5 other rejections I’ve gotten on the platform. I go to bed reminded that a lovely white woman (my wife), who has half the reviews I have, who doesn’t directly pay for our vacation rentals & who doesn’t have to code her emails to get by racial filters, got picked over me… the one people so many people call “successful”. Hmmmmm….Chris Rock said it best.

Note: Shout out to Airbnb, your team was on the scene SUPER fast and have been amazing.



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Wil Reynolds

Serial Underdog @seerinteractive doing SEO, Marketing, & Stuff, I am whatever you say I am.