Here’s A Map Of The Most Racist Places In America, According To Google Searches

Some of you may have wondered where the most racist areas in America are. Are they heavily-Democratic urban areas where the “true racists” don’t realize that racism is over in America (as claimed by the GOP)?

According to a new study published in PLOS ONE, the most racist people in America live in “the rural Northeast and South.”

This map represents data culled by scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz from an analysis of Google searches — something that does not allow even the most “not-racist” person to hide his or her own bigotry. Most Americans will proudly say they aren’t racist, no matter how racist they actually are.

Rand Paul, for instance, hired (and defended) multiple white supremacists, and openly opposes legislation intended to ensure equal rights for African-Americans. Yet, even when making blatantly bigoted statements, Paul will maintain that he is not at all racist.

Men like the future failed 2016 Presidential candidate may be able to hide behind words, but one thing that is honest…is what one searches on Google.

“Google data, evidence suggests, are unlikely to suffer from major social censoring,” Stephens-Davidowitz wrote in a previous study on Google data in relation to support for Barack Obama. “Google searchers are online and likely alone, both of which make it easier to express socially taboo thoughts. Individuals, indeed, note that they are unusually forthcoming with Google.”

While Republicans are more likely to express racist attitudes than are Democrats, an actual measure of bigotry is tricky. In fact, many do not even realize they are racist, as their hatred operates on a subconscious level or is vented anonymously through other means — like New York police message boards.

The Washington Post explains the methodology for the study:

For the PLOS ONE paper, researchers looked at searches containing the N-word. People search frequently for it, roughly as often as searches for  “migraine(s),” “economist,” “sweater,” “Daily Show,” and “Lakers.” (The authors attempted to control for variants of the N-word not necessarily intended as pejoratives, excluding the “a” version of the word that analysis revealed was often used “in different contexts compared to searches of the term ending in ‘-er’.”)

It’s also important to note that not all people searching for the N-word are motivated by racism, and that not all racists search for that word, either. But aggregated over several years and several million searches, the data give a pretty good approximation of where a particular type of racist attitude is the strongest.

Aside from Appalachia, other racist hotbeds include many areas of the Gulf Coast, parts of Michigan, and much of Ohio. The farther West one goes, the more accepting people seem to be, based on the data.

Why is this important? Because the data from these searches show an increased overall mortality rate among black people in areas where “n*gger” is commonly searched.

“Results from our study indicate that living in an area characterized by a one standard deviation greater proportion of racist Google searches is associated with an 8.2% increase in the all-cause mortality rate among Blacks,” the authors conclude. Now, of course, Google searches aren’t directly leading to the deaths of African Americans. But previous research has shown that the prevalence of racist attitudes can contribute to poor health and economic outcomes among black residents.

Racially motivated experiences of discrimination impact health via diminished socioeconomic attainment and by enforcing patterns in racial residential segregation, geographically isolating large segments of the Black population into worse neighborhood conditions,” the authors write, summarizing existing research. “Racial discrimination in employment can also lead to lower income and greater financial strain, which in turn have been linked to worse mental and physical health outcomes.”

Racism is a problem in America — whether or not it is overtly expressed — and, unfortunately, it is quite literally killing the victims of bigotry.


Featured Image via PLOS ONE