Shalene Dudley can list off too many examples of the times she’s experienced racial discrimination while travelling — like being completely ignored in the check-in line for priority seating for flights or having to provide additional ID to prove her business platinum AMEX truly belongs to her.
“A DMC representative in Cancun that I pre-arranged my transfer with, refused to believe that my final destination was the luxury five-star I showed him documentation for. I waited for over an hour until they received a phone confirmation. Even after this, he insisted that I must be a celebrity,” Dudley, the owner of Latitude Concierge Travels, tells Travel Courier. “Or the looks I sometimes receive when my unapologetic afro and I, take our seat in business class. I just stop and stare back before I request my glass of Riesling. There are so many more instances. More than I can list. Recalling them all truly exhausts me.”
Dudley sees educating oneself as the first step towards taking an active stance against any social injustice, such as racism, which is rampant in the industry.
“It is far too easy for one to state that they don’t believe in the existence of an issue simply because it has not been experienced personally,” she points out. “To dismiss a peer or neighbour’s feelings, experiences and traumas as over-exaggeration or imaginings is a clear indication of how we value the well-being of others. Racism is very prevalent in our industry and we need to acknowledge its existence in order to open minds and allow for sustainable change.”
For the full story, don’t miss insights from:
- Shalene Dudley, Latitude Concierge Travels
- Al Hutchinson, Visit Baltimore
- Martinique Lewis, Diversity in travel consultant/Black Travel Alliance
- Elliott L. Ferguson, II, Destination DC
- Connie Kinnard, Greater Miami CVB
- Keith Henry, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada
- Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, @JetSetSarah
- Chun Wright, Principal, Law Office of Chun T. Wright, PLLC
- Brett Tollman, The Travel Corporation
- Costas Christ, Beyond Green Travel, an entity of Preferred Hotel Group, Inc.
… in this week’s TRAVEL COURIER.