Where do the most racists live in America? If you’re a person of color, you might say, (clearing throat loudly), everywhere.
But a new study shows that most racists tend to congregate in the rural Northeast and South, with a heavy concentration along the spine of the Appalachians running from Georgia up to New York and southern Vermont, according to a report published by PLOS ONE, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, reports the Washington Post.
That’s great news for people of color, because now we know which cities and states to avoid, which is important health information.
From the Washington Post:
“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.”
Researchers collected the data using Google search data, a methodology popularized by scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, who used the approach to determine racist attitudes for President Barack Obama’s electoral prospects, notes the news outlet.
The methodology is not too big of a stretch, Stephens-Davidowitz argues, saying, “Google searchers are online and likely alone, both of which make it easier to express socially taboo thoughts,” such as racism. For the PLOS ONE paper, researchers looked at searches containing the N-word, the Post says.
Stephens-Davidowitz also argues that the Google measure correlates strongly with other standard measures social science researchers have used to study racist attitudes, the report says.
Other centers of racist searches are in the Gulf Coast, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and a large portion of Ohio, the report says. But the searches get rarer the further West you go. West of Texas, no region falls into the “much more than average” category, the Post writes.
This is important, because racism is a notoriously tricky thing to measure. Traditional survey methods don’t really work — if you flat-out ask someone if they’re racist, they will simply tell you no. That’s partly because most racism in society today operates at the subconscious level, or gets vented anonymously online.
Click here to see the full map of where racists live in America.
Indeed, the report’s findings are not new to most people of color, but it’s good to get the information out there.
SOURCE: The Washington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty