How Yelp Is Helping Black Travelers Avoid Racist Businesses

Yelp wants to help travelers avoid businesses with racist tendencies. The popular website says they will begin labeling restaurants, shops and other businesses with track records of racism as such. “As the nation reckons with issues of systemic racism, we’ve seen in the last few months that there is a clear need to warn consumers about businesses associated with egregious, racially-charged actions to help people make more informed spending decisions,” the San Francisco-based company said in a Thursday statement. The platform will rely on user reviews for justification. The move is being applauded by many – such as myself – who have experienced racism while dining and written about it on Yelp. The measure hopefully will lead to businesses being more thoughtful of their treatment towards all customers. The label also gives travelers the power of knowing, at least on a superficial level, where their dollars are going. Not everyone is onboard Yelp’s “firm stance on racism” however. Critics are concerned the new anti-racism policy will hurt businesses: This tweet mimics dozens of others found from Breitbart and other right-wing media outlets and whimsical conservative personas. All of the tweets fail to explain Yelp’s process of identifying and labeling the suspect businesses. Indeed, the only way a business can end up with the mark is “when there’s resounding evidence of egregious, racist actions from a business owner or employee.” If you’re a racist or employ racists, this move certainly isn’t cause for celebration. But for most business owners and definitely Black travelers and consumers, the move is welcome.  
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Eric has revolved in and out of passport controls for over 20 years. From his first archaeological field school in Belize to rural villages in Ethiopia and Buddhist temples in Laos, Eric has come smile to smile with all walks of life. A writer, photographer and entrepreneur, the LA native believes the power of connectivity and community is enriched through travel.

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