It does not pay to be racist; in fact, it could actually cost you.
Former Airbnb host Tami Barker learned this lesson the hard way after she rejected an Asian woman’s reservation to rent her mountain cabin in Big Bear, California, in the name of President Donald Trump, Raw Story reports.
Barker was charged with racial discrimination and ordered by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) to pay $5,000 in damages to 26-year-old law clerk Dyne Suh.
According to The Guardian, Barker must also take a college-level course in Asian-American studies, agree to comply with anti-discrimination laws, personally apologize to Suh, participate in a community education panel, and volunteer with a civil rights organization.
This is reportedly the first time an Airbnb host has faced disciplinary action to this degree for racial discrimination following the implementation of an agreement between Airbnb and the DFEH that allows the agency to test and penalize hosts for racial bias.
“We were thinking pretty creatively with this agreement,” said Kevin Kish, director of DFEH. “The law tends to be backwards-looking, focusing on compensating people for harm. We’re interested in remedies that repair harm and transform relationships.”
Barker made her racist feelings toward Suh blatant in messages she sent to her following the cancelation.
“I wouldn’t rent it to u (sic) if u (sic) were the last person on earth (sic),” Barker wrote.
“One word says it all. Asian,” she continued.
Barker added, “It’s why we have Trump… and I will not allow this country to be told what to do by foreigners.”
Raw Story also noted that Suh has lived in the United States for 23 years. Earlier this year, after the incident first occurred, the young woman posted an impassioned video about the mistreatment she’s received for her race despite being in this country for nearly her entire life.
“I just feel so hurt. People thought: ‘Oh, with the election of President Obama racism is over in this country.’ No, it’s very much alive, it exists and it could happen to anyone,” Suh said.
According to Barker’s attorney, Edward Lee, Barker was remorseful for the pain she caused Suh. Lee reportedly said that Barker was "regretful for her impetuous actions and comments” but glad the two were able to resolve the issue “in a manner that can hopefully bring a positive outcome out of an unfortunate incident.”
We can only hope after Barker completes her mandatory classes and service that she will have learned from her mistakes and commit to leading the rest of her life showing tolerance and respect to all.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Flickr user Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine