As an owner of my own home and an Airbnb host I think your research into this story is a bit lacking.
Yes, I’m sure there are racist hosts. We may soon have a racist president, so this should be no shocker to you, but RACISM IS EVERYWHERE!! I just rejected someone this morning, I have no idea what color he/she is because it’s a picture of a flower. (OMG, maybe he was a minority, I should reconsider my rejection because it may be considered racist… maybe I’m a florist)
Why did I reject this person? There are a number of reasons, and none of them have to do with race. It’s my choice! I’m trusting a stranger to come into my home and stay there. I want to feel comfortable that my home will be well cared for by my guests. If I don’t see a picture in the guests profile, I consider this a red flag.
Airbnb is a business. My home is my home… MY home. I’m not paid to be a manager of an apartment building; I live here. The majority of Airbnb hosts are the same as me. They have a apartment/house or 2 and want to capitalize on that investment. This is my right as a homeowner. For the small minority of people who are snapping up apartments to do this, though I disagree with it, it’s their right to do so in a free-market economy. These are people trying to run a business, but they are greedy and their business will eventually fail because they don’t care. I care about the impact on my home, my neighbors, and my community.
The greedy hosts are in it for the money. I’m doing it because I love sharing my home with people from around the world. People come from all walks of life to spend their holidays in Los Angeles and I pride myself in treating my guests like family. The greedy hosts will eventually collapse because their lack of concern for their community will force them out of business.
As far as displacing locals, I agree this is a problem in some big cities, but in the vast majority of the world, this is not the case. This, too, is not a new phenomenon. Poor people have been getting displaced since the beginning of time for someone else’s greed. How many people are displaced by a new owner coming in and turning apartments into condos? How many times do areas ‘gentrify’ the poor people somewhere else? Ever hear of eminent domain? It’s not just Airbnb, but many, many factors that contribute to housing shortages, so don’t just damn me, damn everyone who has contributed to the problem.