While racism is thought to be rife in the Southern US states, a new ‘hate map of America’ reveals prejudice to be common elsewhere.
The map suggests that the coal region and rust belt in the American Northeast, along with the South, have now become the most racist areas of the US.
The rust belt straddles the upper northeastern US, the Great Lakes, and the Midwest states, while the coal region is found in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the spine of the Appalachian Mountains.
The map based its results on Google search data – a technique previously used by data scientists to understand how racism may impact Barack Obama’s electoral chances, according to the Washington Post.
‘Google data, evidence suggests, are unlikely to suffer from major social censoring,’ Harvard University data scientist, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, wrote in an earlier paper.
He added that Google searchers are online and likely alone – both of which make it easier to express socially taboo thoughts.
Asking someone about racism in a traditional survey rarely works, says Stephens-Davidowitz, because people may lie, and often, racism can operate on a subconscious level.
As part of the study, researchers at the University of Maryland, Columbia University, Emory University and Harvard University looked at searches containing the slur n****r.
They found that it was searched for frequently, as often as, for instance, ‘economist,’ ‘sweater,’ and ‘Daily Show’.
The map revealed that clusters of racism appeared in areas of the Gulf Coast, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and a large portion of Ohio.
Racism in the New England states, along with New York, were two surprising hotspots for racism.
Searches for n****r are less frequent in regions west of Texas.
The researchers on the Plos One paper found that racist searches were linked with higher death rates in black communities.
‘Results from our study indicate that living in an area characterised by a one standard deviation greater proportion of racist Google searches is associated with an 8.2 per cent increase in the all-cause mortality rate among Blacks,’ the authors wrote.
Read more: dailymail.co.uk