Tuesday, November 3, 2009

On The Go: BlackAtlas.com

On October 15, 2009, American Airlines launches BlackAtlas.com, a social media website that "offers travel insights from an African American perspective". Featuring video blogs from journalist Nelson George as their new "Traveler At Large", the site boasts of being the "premiere online destination for the African-American traveler."

Reviews of the website are mixed. Travel bloggers, like Steven Frischling of BoardingArea.com's Flying with Fish, do not see the need for the division:

"From the outset American Airlines’ Black Atlas social media site appears to play on certain stereotypical aspects of its targeted audience. The opening page of the pre-launch asks announces the new portal as “Your Passport to the Black Experience“ and asks, “Do you know where to find blues music in Moscow? How about a Jamaican restaurant in Milan? If you do, I want to know about it.” Delving deeper into American Airlines’ Black Atlas site, under the seven individual of categories of interest, along with Travel Tips, Restaurants, Arts & Museums there is also a listing for “Beauty & Barber Shops.”"

Critiques of the site say that most travelers, regardless of race, use travel as a reason to explore different culture, not seek out interpretations of their own. Check out this clip from the Launch Party and be your own judge. Would you check out BlackAtlas.com before taking your next vacation?

(video courtesy RollingOut.com)

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