Friday, May 10, 2013

Geography Of Hate: Racist Tweet Map Of The United States Omits Recording And Documentation Of Anti-White Racial Slurs

On May 10th, 2013, the Daily Mail reported on the results of a project called Geography of Hate, which was created by cartography students at Humboldt State University in California. Undergraduate students analyzed 150,000 geocoded tweets sent out between June 2012 and April 2013 containing 10 pre-selected hate words in three categories: Racism, homophobia and disability. Here are the pre-selected hate words:

Racism: Chink, Gook, Nigger, Spic, Wetback
Homophobia: Dyke, Fag, Homo, Queer
Disability: Cripple

Notice anything missing? Somebody on the AR-15 discussion board noticed that anti-white slurs like "cracker", "whitey", "gringo", and "haole" (a Hawaiian anti-white slur) are missing, as well as the slur "breeder" frequently directed towards straights by gays. They also failed to document and measure slurs directed against American Indians and Alaska Natives, and surprisingly neglected anti-Semitic slurs such as "kike" and "sheeney".

After processing the data aggregated by the DOLLY Project, the team comprised of three students in Dr. Monica Stephens’ advanced cartography class produced an interactive map as part of The Geography of Hate project. To avoid the pitfall of an algorithm automatically classifying a tweet as negative if it contains a "hate word", the organizers of the project relied on students to read the entirety of the message for context before deciding if is tweet is in fact hateful. The tweets are then normalized based on the total amount of Twitter activity in the surrounding area. To illustrate the latter, they note that while Orange County, California has the highest absolute number of tweets mentioning many of the slurs, it doesn't show up all that prominently on any of the maps because of its high overall volume of tweets. But one or two people generating a large number of flagged tweets could distort the statistics for a given area.

What were the most frequently used slurs? According to Floating Sheep, of the 150,000 geocoded tweets sent out, 95,123 referenced "homo" and 41,306 contained the word "nigger". Least used were "wetback" and "spick". Geographically, the use of "nigger" and the homophobic slurs was significantly greater from the Great Plains eastward than it was in the western third of the country, but usage of "nigger" was relatively equal on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line. There also wasn't always overlap between one slur and another; for example, a twitter site which pumped out anti-black slurs may not have published any anti-Asian slurs. Here's a screenshot of one of the maps below:

Click to enlarge or go HERE for original

The map is available at Users.Humboldt.Edu. Select the category of interest from the top line menu, and the display will update. You'll have to zoom out to get Alaska and Hawaii, and even then, you'll only get the southern two-thirds of Alaska, which is the most populated part.

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