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MIT Technology Review

WHAT’S MISSING FROM CORPORATE STATEMENTS ON RACIAL INJUSTICE? THE REAL CAUSE OF RACISM. On August 31, Airbnb launched Project Lighthouse, an initiative meant to “uncover, measure, and overcome discrimination” on the home-sharing platform. According to the company, Project Lighthouse will identify discrimination by measuring whether a renter’s perceived race correlates with differences in the rate or quality of that person’s bookings, cancellations, or reviews. This project comes amid an outpouring of solidarity statements and policy changes from the tech industry in response to uprisings after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police on May 25. While these nods toward racial justice may be well-intentioned, they highlight a problem that casts doubt on whether the industry’s efforts to date can truly combat bias: the tendency to position race, not racism, as the cause of discrimination.

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