Where do America’s most racist people live? “The rural Northeast and South,” suggests a new study just published in PLOS ONE.
The paper introduces a novel but makes-tons-of-sense-when-you-think-about-it method for measuring the incidence of racist attitudes: Google search data. The methodology comes from data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. He’s used it before to measure the effect of racist attitudes on Barack Obama’s electoral prospects.
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’.”) Read the rest at Washington Post.