Why are you rating black churches on Yelp?
Should churches receive travel reviews?
There are Yelp reviews for black churches — and that is so much to wrap my head around. I’m not opposed to consumer reviews at all. I have 122 on my own Yelp page, and I don’t hold back when I review companies on Medium. But what I heard on WBEZ’s 91.5 “This American Life*” just sounded cringeworthy. Tourists are apparently visiting African-American churches for the very first time and using selfie sticks inside. Backpackers are stepping out before the sermons start, and others apparently “gawk” at the scene on the main-level pews “like anthropologists.”
B.A. Parker — a contributor for “This American Life,” which is hosted by Ira Glass* — ended up at the church described above after a bumpy year. She explained that she told her roommate she needed an outlet, and her roommate suggested attending a nearby church. That’s where she encountered “hundreds” of tourists mostly wearing Cargo shorts, waiting outside “half a block” to enter.
According to her: “The balcony is for large groups of tourists, and they just happen to be European. [The pastor] insists the largest number of tourists in the church aren’t white, they’re black. They blend in, sitting down on the main floor with all of us. So he puts it back to me: Is my problem with tourists, or with white tourists? It’s white tourists.”