A couple of weeks ago American Airlines launched BlackAtlas.com, a website aimed at African American travelers. I did a radio interview yesterday about the site, and as I’ve thought more about it I’ve become increasingly torn on whether this is a smart idea. Magazines targeting specific demographics have existed for years with no fallout, but this is American’s second try at a website aimed at African Americans and each has had its critics. (Others complained about their somewhat patronizing website aimed at women travelers). Check out the site. Something just feels somewhat off. Is the section helping you find barbershops and beauty salons in a given city helpful, culturally correct, or just a bit stereotypical? While on the other end of the spectrum, much of the travel content is not at all aimed at a specific group of travelers. If that’s the way to go, why does this site exist at all?
I’m not Black, so it’s entirely possible I’m missing the point. But when AA launches JewishAtlas.com and offers sections on bagels & lox, how to save money, and where to find an Accountant in Rome, something will seem a bit off to me.
I appreciate the idea of a targeted, well-written site aimed at a specific group of travelers. That’s fine. But something about this one just makes me feel slightly icky.