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Airbnb Property Listed As A ‘Slave Cabin’ By no means Housed Enslaved Individuals


That Infamous Airbnb Property Wasn’t A Slave Cabin But It Exposed Something Deeper

Well-liked trip rental firm Airbnb is below hearth after a TikTok video slamming a Mississippi property described as a “slave cabin” went viral. 

The property on the heart of the controversy is the Panther Burn Cottage, a small cottage in Greenville, Mississippi. The outline acknowledged the constructing as soon as served as a slave quarters. The posting additionally claimed it was used as a sharecropper cabin and later, a medical workplace. 

Wynton Yates, a civil rights legal professional, posted the video on July 28. Screenshots of the property confirmed 68 evaluations and an total 4.97 score. He highlighted how individuals who had stayed on the property used phrases like “historic,” “elegant,” “pleasant” and “cool” to explain it. 

Article continues after video.

Many social media customers had been appalled that the placement may very well be rented as a mattress and breakfast. The lodging has since been taken down from Airbnb’s web site and an apology has been issued. 

However the location was by no means a slave cabin. 

Yates shares with ESSENCE that the property’s new proprietor, a person named Brad Hauser, contacted him at the beginning of August. He says Hauser revealed to him that the small picket cottage was by no means really a slave cabin and never a part of any plantation.

Hauser additionally strongly opposed the choice of the earlier proprietor to market the property as a spot that when housed previously enslaved folks. 

In line with Yates, Hauser additionally defined the constructing’s unique proprietor stated it was used as a physician’s workplace and was not sufficiently old to have housed slaves.

“How is that this okay?,” Yates asks. “Somebody deliberately marketed a trip rental as a former slave cabin as a result of they felt slavery was a very good promoting level.”

Brad Hauser didn’t reply to ESSENCE’s request for remark. 

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“To make use of slavery as a promoting level is just not solely gross and dismissive of a horrible historical past on this this nation,” Yates says. “It’s additionally the continued taking advantage of slavery.” 

The controversy raises a bigger dialog on the commodification of Black trauma and its position within the U.S. journey and tourism business. 

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Tourism Reset is a analysis initiative working to problem inequality in tourism. The mission’s co-directors, Dr. Alana Dillette and Dr. Stephanie Benjamin, say slavery getting used as a advertising and marketing tactic is indicative of the business.

“The truth that somebody realized that that they might use  [slavery] and other people would need  to return additionally says extra about the place we’re on this area in 2022, that it’s one thing that really attracts any individual to a spot,” Dr. Dillette tells ESSENCE.

“Sadly, this isn’t actually something new,” Dr. Benjamin, who’s white, says. “There’s lengthy been a romanticization of this time within the American previous.” 

Plantations have turn out to be a preferred location for {couples} to be married at. But these sprawling estates with mansions can’t be separated from their historical past of violence and brutality. They’re relics of slavery, not the backdrop for a celebration.

The Boone Plantation in South Carolina was the place movie star couple Blake Energetic and Ryan Reynolds had been married in 2012. The couple confronted main criticism after particulars of their wedding ceremony resurfaced on-line in 2018. Reynolds would later inform Quick Firm that they realized from their mistake, issued a public apology and donated over a million {dollars} every to the NAACP Authorized Protection Fund. 

That wasn’t the final time plantations had been used as a prop for celebration. The truth is, one other notorious occasion noticed one individual really desirous to deliver folks in to recreate the texture of slavery. 

In 2013, movie star chef Paula Deen was lambasted after admitting she needed to enlist Black males to painting slaves at a marriage she was planning. She stated she received the concept from a restaurant she and her husband dined at within the South. 

“The entire whole waiter workers was middle-aged black males, and so they had on lovely white jackets with a black bow tie,” stated Deen throughout a videotaped deposition. “I imply, it was actually spectacular. That restaurant represented a sure period in America …after the Civil Warfare, in the course of the Civil Warfare, earlier than the Civil Warfare … It was not solely Black males, but it surely was additionally Black girls … I might say they had been slaves,” she stated.

In 2019, Coloration of Change, a civil rights advocacy group, lobbied The Knot Worldwide, Zola, Pinterest, and different wedding ceremony planning web sites to cease selling and romanticizing plantations as wedding ceremony venues.

 “Advertising plantations as ‘traditional’ or ‘timeless’ locations to rejoice a giant day communicates a transparent message to your Black purchasers and readers: that their struggling  is one thing to be celebrated, if not fully erased. Plantations are former compelled labor camps that brutalized and murdered thousands and thousands of Black folks on this nation— they don’t seem to be get together areas, ” learn the petition on group’s web site. 

In consequence, Pinterest and The Knot Worldwide and different corporations ceased the promotion of wedding ceremony venues and content material that glamourized former plantations. The organizations behind the change additionally labored on new pointers to make sure that wedding ceremony distributors don’t use language on their web sites that washes over Southern plantation historical past.

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Dr. Dillette and Dr. Benjamin imagine organizations within the tourism business, like Airbnb, want an intensive analysis course of. The perception will forestall customers from having the ability to capitalize on Black People’ trauma.

“We now have to…amplify these tales and when these things occurs, like on this case, name folks out. However extra importantly, like with Airbnb, they took the itemizing down. Good. That’s the first step,” Dr. Dillette says.

Yates believes the discourse that got here from this incident was needed. “It’s not simply going out on a campaign to take down these posts,” stated Yates. “It’s about having the conversations of not permitting the historical past and expertise of slavery to be to proceed to be whitewashed on this nation,” Yates says.

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