Black Lives Matter.
We don’t want to talk only about travel today because there is something more important that we need to say: Black Lives Matter. We feel the need to speak about the protests happening across the country and the world.
The only ethical stance is to oppose and condemn police brutality and racism against Black people. We as a nation watched George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and David McAtee, among many, many other Black men and women, be murdered, and real justice should be served to the murderers.
And we are witnessing the impact of other forms of racial inequality in real-time. With over 100,000 American deaths from COVID-19, a disease that disproportionately affects members of the Black community, a crippling 40% unemployment rate, and reports that many Black-owned businesses may be forced to shutter permanently because of the pandemic, this inequality is killing Black people.
You might be asking yourself what this has to do with travel and why we at Fodor’s feel the need to comment on what’s happening. The truth is that the travel industry in the United States has not been reflective of all perspectives. And that needs to change.
Many travelers–our editorial board included–idealistically believe that travel actually enriches our humanity by enabling us to see from other perspectives and develop empathy for others. But we also realize that we haven’t been proactively taking steps to expand perspectives and build empathy in our own corner of the world, with Fodor’s Guidebooks and Fodors.com.
From now on, we will do better. Below, we’ve outlined the steps we plan to take both on Fodors.com and the Fodor’s Guidebooks in order to ensure that we are including a diverse range of voices and experiences for a diverse set of readers.
- Hire more BIPOC writers, especially for destinations with a significant percentage of BIPOC residents. Part of our book launch process and Fodors.com pitch review process will now include an evaluation of writer diversity.
- We will work to ensure that our listings in guidebooks and on Fodors.com include more Black-owned businesses and ask our writers to always keep this in mind when adding and omitting listings.
- Ensure that the editing process continually involves amending any racism or racially insensitive language.
- Revise our in-house style manual and updating instructions to guide our editors, writers, copyeditors, and proofreaders in spotting and updating problematic language.
- Create monthly accountability practices to ensure that we are working towards our goals.
You might not notice the changes right away. But starting now, starting today, we’ll be working to do better. And the first step in that is for us to say: Black Lives Matter.
Thanks for reading. Some people might want to email us to say “stick to writing about travel.” And some of you might want to share ideas for how we can do even more. If you feel compelled to write to us, please go right ahead as we like to hear from our readers. Sometimes wonderful things can come from starting a conversation.