FINDING COMMON GROUND IN OUR COMMUNITY

The APMG mission is to enrich the mind and nourish the spirit; to expand the perspectives of our audiences; and help them strengthen their communities. Given that THEIR communities are OUR communities, it is up to us to better understand the communities where we operate if we want to be part of strengthening those communities.
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Students at Humboldt State University in northern California worked to put together the interactive “Geography of Hate” map showing where tweets containing hate speech originate. You can see screenshots of racist and homophobic tweets above, from both Southern California and nationally, as defined by the project.

The students looked at tweets with location information from June 2012 through April 2013 containing one of 10 hate words, which included racist, homophobic and anti-disabled words. They looked at over 150,000 tweets, reading each one to decide whether it was being used in a negative way.

The data was aggregated down to the county level, then normalized by how many tweets were sent, so you can’t tell using the map whether the specific tweets classified as hate speech were necessarily coming from one part of the county or another.

The Huffington Post notes that the majority of hateful tweets seem to be coming from rural areas and small towns, while more populous areas like the Los Angeles region have far fewer hate tweets. Still, a pale blue coloring indicates words being used more than the national average, and there’s still some of that blue in the L.A. area. Southern California also generally shows more racist tweets than homophobic tweets, particularly against blacks