The Most Racist Cities In America — And Should You Travel There?

It’s 2022, but it can feel like 1844.

Racism has been more visible in America, and it’s definitely leaving a mark in travel. For the first time ever, NAACP issued a travel advisory to Missouri in 2017, international countries issued travel warnings to the United States in 2016 and black people definitely took Charlottesville off their bucket list. Also, if you’ve been hiding under a rock, you wouldn’t know the Black Lives Matter movement was heard around the world in 2021 (and Travelbinger helped spread the word in New York City).

It has been an insane year so far, where white supremacy is a developing voice in rural and often cosmopolitan cities — and the messaging has been rampant lately. In fact, I thought it was pretty frightening when, in 2016, this town in Arkansas put up billboards right after the November elections that used diversity as a code word for white genocide.

But racism in travel isn’t new in the United States; it’s just more visible. In 2015, Google put together a list of the most racist cities in America, using a methodology that measured racist attitudes in search terms. Are you surprised with what you see? Not much has changed.

I’ve been to racist cities. You can literally feel the racism even more if you’re ethnic. Even if it’s not directed at you, it’s heavy. I feel like there are degrees of racism, and being a predominantly white city doesn’t necessarily mean it’s racist (as some travelers may presume). I’ve been to mostly white places with small black populations that celebrate diversity (like Denver).

Black Lives Matter sign NYC
Black Lives Matter sign NYC

I’ve traveled to predominantly white places that celebrate diversity but in a weird WTF way (Portland, which has a “Chinatown” but no Chinese people living in it). And I’ve traveled to predominantly white places so white that ethnic people stand out (Hilton Head. I mean, did you see The Bachelorette that season? Did you notice in every scene, Rachel Lindsay and the black bachelors were literally the only ethnic people in every crowd scene?).

Does a totally white city mean it’s totally racist?

most racist cities in america

It depends on the attitude.

Some places have that “white power” attitude, which I think is pretty sad, especially when we’ve had so much progress in America, and I’ve learned you can’t change a person. They have to change themselves, and it helps when minorities remain visible. I’m not trying to send a black person to Charlottesville; I think it’s important diversity is celebrated and visible in our every day lives. This includes the government, major corporations, airlines, media, film and newspapers, places where it’s important all races have a voice, platforms that have impact and influence.

I can confidently say ethnic people notice when there’s a white-only cast on TV shows, but white people necessarily don’t. See how that works? We need to keep spreading the diversity love. If it’s spread thin, it’s easy to forget everyone exists. It’s why the Black Lives Matter movement is so important. I’ve had white friends explore their privilege and start seeing things ethnic people see.

Black Lives Matter protest in NYC.

So back to racism in travel. Should you travel to a city you think is racist?

It depends. You know your comfort levels more than anyone else. Be smart about the destinations you choose. You should never hide who you are, wherever you go, so don’t go to places you think you need to hide. They may not be the right cities for you now but only time will tell if they progress back to 2017. The more we talk about this, the more we take action, the better off we are in the future.

If you plan on traveling soon, be sure to do your research, for you don’t want to go to one of the most racist cities in America, and you certainly don’t want to support a city that doesn’t support black lives.

I find the best hotel rates on Tripadvisor. Book here.

(This story was originally published in September 2017).

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed at over 600 hotels and clocked millions of air miles. He currently lives in New York City.

24 thoughts on “The Most Racist Cities In America — And Should You Travel There?

  1. Christina, first if you’re going to quote a movie line at least get the right actor. It was Jack Nicholson who famously stated “You can’t handle truth” not 007

  2. All you left liberals dumbacrats want to destroy America. In the 19th Century America colonized Liberia Africa for all blacks to leave America and permanently return back to Africa. All of you that yell racist and discrimination are the ones that actually are. Democrat liberals need to go to California and Nevada ,so you can have your own little area. We put up a wall and you can call it Calivada. Beth and all you idiots that oppose me are nothing but pieces of s

  3. Wow there really are some evil people replying here. Sickening. But some of them are right. This writer has tunnel vision and is a complete fool if you think BLACK LIVES MATTER care about black lives. I haven’t seen any protests or demonstrations in Chicago where there is a serious black on black crime problem. I haven’t seen any BLM protests for the black police officers that lost their life. BLM is gross and racist. I oppose racism in every way. I have a black (Jamaican) gf and we have a daughter. I am white. We discuss it and talk about it when it comes up. But if you ask her and from my experience in daily life, I have been the victim of more racism because of my choices to start a bi-racial family than anyone I know. Black men say awful things to me when we go out. Literally almost every time and if they don’t say something we can feel it. I don’t deny there are racist white people, the replies above make that obvious. I’m just saying that the kind of language in this opinion piece (at best) is a BIG part of the problem. You have to quit holding your own people (and my daughter) down by continuing this garbage and making them grow up thinking they are always a victim and nothing negative in their life stems from personal decisions. It’s all because of racism?? That’s just ignorant. And it keeps people from making the necessary changes they need to make to better themselves. I SO much wanted Obama to be a shining star for African Americans. I voted for him the 1st time in spite of his radical bs policies solely on the hope that he would stand up and be a voice of inspiration and try to talk to young black men and women and explain to them what is really holding back their race. A 50% abortion rate (self genocide), young black men leaving pregnant women, black on black crime. Obviously I’m not generalizing and saying ALL black people committ these atrocities, but these are major problems with a small group of African Americans and it spreads like wildfire. But these two things are NOTHING compared to the rich white elitists telling you that you are victims NO MATTER WHAT you do. Why would you listen to these fascist pigs that created the KKK and killed MLK and have been holding you guys back forever. They need you to be held down as much as possible so they can stay in power. If all black people suddenly became rich and had dads in every home and were successful and no black person ever needed welfare again, the entire Democratic party would fall apart and be useless. This is exactly what they want. I truly hope something changes with this brainwashing they are doing and you obviously fell for full stop. I am sure you are a beautiful, smart, intelligent, independent ethnic woman… you are not a victim. You just have to stop this branding the liberal elitists are burning into your brain from the moment that only half of you are allowed to be born. Stand up for yourself, don’t take the easy victim role. Take the hard, leadership role and tell these idiots that keep spewing this garbage that it’s not going to be what identifies you as a woman. The racists pigs that replied to you above are a very small percentage of us, just like the African Americans that are causing major problems in the black community are a very small percentage of African Americans. Don’t waste your time with them and what they think or believe. Spend your time having the difficult but true conversations that will lift your people up out of this stereotype of being a victim and letting the white elitists say “aww aren’t these black people just so sad and desperate?? They need our help so bad. Let’s make everything SO easy and free for them.” Then giving you nothing but welfare and dependencies on them to keep their foot on the necks of so many. They say this garbage every election when they need your vote but do nothing to help the real problems. Someone needs to do the hard work and be a beacon of light for angels like my daughter.

  4. This is a good article, thank you for writing it.

    @Christina & Racists Hate God: St. Paul, appointed by Christ to preach the gospel, wrote in Colossians that “In God, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, Male nor Female, Slave nor Free.” There is no separation of the races in Christ, sorry to remind you of that, my friends. Be sure you read your Bible very carefully, and with due fear of the Lord as you do so, before you speak because you are going to be held accountable for it and as the Bible says, “God hates a liar”. Notice, he doesn’t say he hates black people, he says he hates liars. We will have to give account for every word we say, as you should know (that is in the Bible), so be careful what you say.

  5. Hey Christina. It was Jack Nicholson who said “You Can’t Handle the Truth!”. Get your basic movie references correct. You racist P.O.S.

  6. As a French Canadian who married into a Lithuanian family, I dislike when “ethnic” is used to mean “visibly different from most of the people around me/him/her.” Not a limited list, but Baltic, Slavic, French, German, Irish, and Basque peoples and others are ALL special ETHNICITIES with their own languages, cultures, CUISINES, dialects, and customs. They are all VERY different peoples. Sometimes it is a region within one country which had former cultural ties to another country before migration or a war or diplomatic agreement pushed the borders around – example: Silesians in Poland. So just because *you* might not be able to detect us around you or tell us apart, doesn’t mean you should erase their ethnicities by writing as if you’re the only “ethnic” person in a crowd! Suddenly you might wonder why there is a water fight on the Monday after Easter. (“Dingus Day”)

  7. Before you say that I have no business to comment on this since I dont live in the USA.

    Just zoom out a bit and think about the article.

    It implies that a town only made of white people has to be atleast on some stage of having racism and also that if we have only white TV casters or white only cast it has to be racism.

    This sounds so crazy to a bystander, you people need to find something else in life.

  8. Where in the Bible does it say to go to another country, snatch people, and bring them back to your own country to enslave them? Then spend a bunch of energy telling them to to back to the country where their family was snatched?

  9. Be very Weary of people like Christina up there who claim christianity but spew hate, deception, and a wicked tongue. Don’t waste precious energy on the ignorance of the arrogantly privileged, they don’t dont want the education that will put their racism in plain sight to themselves. smdh

  10. Beware of those who like to rewrite history so it conforms to their own taste. They will attempt to whitewash the most appalling things. The fact that the KKK are all white terrorists and murderers of blacks is irrefutable. Confucius said, Clever talk can confound the working of moral force just as a little impatience can spoil great plans. God knows everything. Read Psalm 94.

  11. @Christina: WOW, you truly are a horrible human being! Please do us all a favor, and do not step out of your cave, better yet, try and pick up a book and educate yourself a little, maybe you could read up on what the confederate flag represents in the U.S.A!

    Terrorist groups? really? why, cause they make you uncomfortable? KKK and their riffles don’t though, right?

    Why don’t you start by going back to whatever country YOU and YOUR ancestors came from prior to telling anyone else to do so!! Us AMERICANS don’t want you here!!

    The ignorance and hate within you is outstanding!! never cease to amaze me!

    1. You are the one that is ignorant and you are proving to the world that you are a communist, evil liberal leftist and a terrorist. Your are also anti-American and unAmerican. You are also judgmental . You also don’t educate yourself, you stereotype the Confederate flag to benefit yourself and your evil views. You also hate America and freedom.

  12. The Confederate flag is a Christian symbol dating back to the 12th century 1286 in Scotland. All Confederate flags and statues need to go back up and left alone. Black lives matter, black panthers and naacp are all hate groups and have no business in America. They are all terrorist, un-American, anti-American communist. Blacks need to go to Africa.

    We also need to ABOLISH PROPERTY TAXES which in unjust and unconstitutional and communist. True home ownership does not exist do to extortion money called property taxes government rent on your own property no justice. You can’t even drive your own private car on a public highway without a darn license asking permission from the state to drive your own private car. Where is the justice? What happen to freedom of movement? I can’t understand having a license for commerce meaning a driver like a taxi for hire or if you are making money on the road for commerce not for a private car which is a traveler transporting your own stuff or pleasure or back and forth to work

    . God given right to life, liberty pursuit of happiness and property. Right to shelter, right to move freely throughout the state and country. You should not have to ask permission to drive your own car on a public highway which is what a stupid license is, communism.

    Lastly, I get so tired of the left democrats trying to compare the Confederate flag to a Nazi flag. There is a big difference ,Hitler back in 1935 did not want anything to do with the Confederate flag or choose to use it because Hitler need it represents FREEDOM, INDEPENDENCE, SOVEREIGNTY,STATE RIGHTS, CONFEDERATION, AND A CHRISTIAN SYMBOL.

    Democrats want to censor freedom of speech and freedom WAKE UP AMERICA. Watch the movie 1984 OR READ THE NOVEL BY GEORGE ORWELL. Wake up Wake up. People call you names so what it only words Racist is a control word don’t fall for it. It’s the people that go around yelling racist and discrimination are the ones that actually are. Black lives matter, black panthers and naacp are all hate groups and have no business in America. They are all terrorist, un-American, anti-American communist. Blacks need to go to Africa. America colonized an area in Africa in the 1800s for blacks to go back and be out of America once and for all. The area is called Liberia send them back.

    In 1959, a Judge said that God almighty created all the races and separated them on different areas because he did not intend for them to mix. The Bible even says do not let your sons marry their daughters. Do not let your daughters marry their sons. Do not make a coven with them. Acts says you cannot have clean from unclean. The Bible also says that homosexuals need to be put to death. Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed because all the evils like gay, lesbian, race mixing and adultery. Society was too sick to survive. A family was told to leave the city and not to look back and what did the wife do? She looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. We cannot allow open borders and illegal immigrants into the country. In revolutions it says do not accept the mark of the beast in your right hand or forehead. The number is 666; it’s not a man, but a system meaning a chip in your right hand or forehead. Anyone that does will be doomed to burn in the lake of fire, like all liars, adulators, idlers’, race mixers, gays and lesbians (homosexuals). To sum it up we cannot let America go to a cashless society and we cannot allow America to turn into a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah.

    1. Christina: You poor delusional fool. So much KKKool-Aid.

      All of this is a lie.

      I will address the Confederate flag lie specifically. That flag was created AFTER the civil war had ended. So if they used it from some previous flag, that is irrelevant. It didn’t exist until after the civil war. Google it. Quit breaking the Commandments. Bearing False Witness, specifically.

      1. You are the racist liar that can’t handle the truth as Sean Connery said. Your problem is you would rather keep your head buried in the sand than wake up to the truth. Your are nothing more than an anti-american unAmerican communist promoting leftist libtard evil views.

      2. You know that people call other people racist because they are the ones who actually are with there evil liberal communist views that want to tear America apart. The root problem in America is due to all the blacks causing trouble and blaming whites for their own problems that they cause. Segregation is the answer to fixing America’s problems. Send all blacks back to Africa. America colonized Liberia to send them back. Two different races in a country cannot live peacefully around each other you look around you see proof all the time. In the Bible it talks about different boundaries for different people.

  13. don’t you think the google searches for the n-word come from black people themselves, who call each other that all the time on social media and in their song lyrics? check the map again. those are areas with more black people.

    1. Uncle Tom: You do know that God made the people of color too. Right?

      Black people live where there are racists? Who knew. You should be a journalist with your amazing insight!

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