I’m a black man. Here’s what happened when I booked an Airbnb.

Rohan Gilkes
Stay Woke
Published in
5 min readMay 25, 2016


This is a story of an AIRBNB experience I recently went through. I met this awesome lady Crissie in my Facebook Group. Super nice lady, successful business owner, beautiful family, and they live in a small town in Idaho.

Crissie would post these amazing videos of the land and the snow, and the mountains and trees, and I told her one day I would come visit.

It‘s so absolutely beautiful there!

The view from Crissie’s home: Mountains as far as the eye can see!
Crissie and her family at the lake and riding their ATV’s

This place looks majestic! Like something you would see in a movie. After working like crazy on a new product launch, I felt like I needed a bit of a break. I hit up Crissie and told her I’m finally coming through to visit! : -)

I like my space when I travel and thought it would be fun to find a cool cabin

Oh and here’s me with my new beard

So my beard looks a little bit spotty now but it’s going to come in, I promise. I know it will…I really hope it does. Pray for me y’all. Okay okay, onto the story

Crissie was super happy I was finally coming, and hilarious as usual! LOL

And I was hyped too!

I booked this place on AirBNB for 5 days, July 1st to July 5th

Crissie even drew me up this hilarious picture based on the locations of the airbnb spot vs her home. 2 miles. Perfect!!!

Everything was set! As usual, I included a bit of info about myself on the airbnb listing to put the host at ease

I’m actually going by myself, but I figured I would just add the possibility of another person so it wouldn’t feel extra weird

1st response: Dang! No luck, even though the dates were available all of a sudden, the host said she was going to use the place.

No biggie, I’m really flexible, Crissie told me late June is good as well, so I rebooked for June.

CANCELLED! Well daymn. So it wasn’t really the dates, the host cancelled my new request and ignored all future messages.

So I had a white friend book for my same dates and all of a sudden her plans changed back hahaha. Approved immediately! LOL

Moral of the story: Last time I’ll be using AirBnB until they fix this widespread issue (they said they are addressing it and will come up with a solution). But this one ignoramus isn’t stopping anything. I WILL be going to Idaho. And I WILL have an amazing time with Crissie and her fam. And I WILL ride ATVs and eat good Idaho food (potatoes?) lol, and I WILL be fine.

Just felt like telling my story.

Here’s another guy with the exact same experience but with another host

And more reading: http://www.vox.com/2016/5/6/11601180/airbnbwhileblack-racism http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victoria-yore/an-interracial-couple-airbnbwhileblack_b_9858468.html

Bonus: How I imagine I’m going to be on the ATV!

What reality will most likely be like! LOL :-)

Edit to add: BTW, this isn’t a knock on Idaho, this host actually lives in California and runs the property (and a few others), so I’m not sure she’s actually from Idaho. Every other person from Idaho I’ve talked to after this has been nothing but amazing. After posting this on Facebook, I got so many offers of places to stay in Idaho and super well wishes, it has been nothing short of incredible! Just wanted to add this.

For folks that are going to say, “well people have the right to refuse rentals in their homes”. True. To an extent. There are Fair Housing laws that may apply under certain circumstances (Number of homes they have for rent, etc.). Either way, if they have the right of refusal, I also have the right to tell my story.

Thanks for reading.

UPDATE: I’ve since gone onmy Idaho trip and had a blast: http://imgur.com/a/hXidX

UPDATE #2: I’m getting ready to launch my own platform to combat this problem: http://www.innclusive.com/