Minnesota is one of the least racist states, according to Google (and Harvard)

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Those of us who are racist apparently don't share those prejudices with Google.
A Harvard PhD student recently analyzed Google search data from the 2004 and 2008 presidential election cycles in hopes of determining to what extent the Obama vote was limited by racial prejudices.

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The student, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, determined that Obama's vote percentage could've been about three to five percent higher nationally if he were white. But what's interesting for our purposes is the state-by-state Google racism ranking Stephens-Davidowitz put together.

He looked at the number of times residents from each state searched for the n-bomb or its plural. Turns out we don't search for such things very often up here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Minnesota ranked 45th out of 51 (including the District of Columbia) in the Google racism rankings, only behind D.C., Idaho, New Mexico, Colorado, Hawaii, and Utah.

On the racist end of the spectrum is first-ranked West Virginia, which is followed by Louisiana and Pennsylvania. Rounding out the top 10 'most racially charged searches' states are Mississippi, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, Alabama, and New Jersey.

To read the full study, click here.


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103 comments
seripark2011
seripark2011

Minnesota is not a good place to be if you're Asian American.  The largest Asian population in Minnesota is Hmong, so many seem to associate being Asian with being uneducated and poor.  Also, the ideal in Minnesota seems to be Scandinavian and blond. 

simbaholic
simbaholic

I used to live in MN. A lot of the white people there kicked the Hispanics out of our church, spread lies about my parents and stalked our house.

karenmajewicz
karenmajewicz

@BillLindeke This study appears to be based on search frequency of ONE word. Maybe tells more about linguistics/dialects than racism?

Kyle Amundson
Kyle Amundson

Maybe we just have less cry babies. I mean let's face it; 75% of the time that "racism" is invoked, it's actually just somebody being a whiney pussy.

jezmez68
jezmez68

@fgagliardi99 @citypages What defines "less racist"? Only certain races are lynched instead of all?

Ddrekonja
Ddrekonja

@NewsCut I'm used to venom in politics. Now PhD candidates get to be called stupid and their methodology idiotic? You read the full paper?

OleOlafLefse
OleOlafLefse

@NewsCut More damaging yet: exponential increase in number of "journalists." Strong democracy demands informed electorate. #doomed

Juan Conatz
Juan Conatz

Yes, because racism is all about searching terms on the internet, and not about segregation, poverty, incarceration, police brutality, voter disenfranchisement, deportation rates etc etc etc. C'mon now.

mark.gisleson
mark.gisleson

Obviously they were measuring by head count, and not by volume.

OobsMan
OobsMan

@AutumnCompton ummm yes. There are nothing but mixed race babies running around here. Not a ton of racism going on.

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut You've never really explained why search term data is unreliable. People don't lie to search engines.

FeliciaG612
FeliciaG612

@jezmez68 Oh, and was reminded today of the white guy I work with who dressed up as a Native American for Halloween last year....

FeliciaG612
FeliciaG612

@jezmez68 Data based on Google searches re: Obama. Seems like, super, super scientific, right?!

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@Ddrekonja @kenpaulman Or how about citing it as evidence of racism in the election of '08 while not including data after '07.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@Ddrekonja But where do you want to start? How about suggesting Google search results cover 99% of American voters?

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@Ddrekonja Tell you what? Pick any of the questions I've asked so far and you can answer them. Take all the time you need.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@OleOlafLefse Wait! What! There's been an increase in journalists? Now THAT'S news.

AutumnCompton
AutumnCompton

@OobsMan Don't know if that qualifies as the marker of a non racist state, but definitely wouldn't see that in Texas

CampaignExpert
CampaignExpert

@kenpaulman @NewsCut They don't lie to search engines? They weren't asked a question by the search engine to lie to it.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman quantify an overall racial animus. Google data* might* suggest causation, but it doesn't prove it. A good scientist would test..

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman BTW, "i should spend all day with my head up my a**" yields 102,000,000 items. So 1/3 of population of U.S. must think so.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman Really? I have to answer that question? Really? Because it doesn't show intent. But, c'mon Ken. You know that.

Ddrekonja
Ddrekonja

@NewsCut And, one can disagree with a paper (and an author) without calling them stupid. Called being polite.

Ddrekonja
Ddrekonja

@NewsCut He actually said the media markets included encompass 99% of voters. There is a difference.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@CampaignExpert @kenpaulman The 'why' of it is pretty important. So in the absence of the "why," we'll just guess, and then call it research

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@CampaignExpert @kenpaulman That's exactly right. The search for "n word" can only mean someone searched for "n word." it can't say why.

Ddrekonja
Ddrekonja

@NewsCut @kenpaulman "good scientists" have to start somewhere; most don't start careers with definitive studies as their thesis.

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut Completely agree that "I typed X into Google and got Y results, therefore..." is stupid. That's not what the researcher did.

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut You're confusing search results with search terms. The former is what the algorithm generates. The latter is what people type in.

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut Does intent matter in this case? (not saying it does or doesn't - I haven't read the paper)

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@Ddrekonja Of course. Common sense tells you that. An yet, it purports to paint a racial animus on the strength of a couple of words.

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@CampaignExpert @NewsCut Maybe you guys should take these questions up with the researcher and report back?

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut @CampaignExpert We presume someone who uses lots of racial slurs in conversation to be more racist. Why different for web searches?

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut @Ddrekonja *Attempting* to measure, that is.

Ddrekonja
Ddrekonja

@NewsCut @kenpaulman So because racism exists in MN (no one denies), any attempt to quantify it and link to voting patterns is invalid?

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut @Ddrekonja Outside the scope. Author wasn't measuring racism as a whole. He was measuring racial bias against Obama. Who is black.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@Ddrekonja @kenpaulman That is correct. And if people don't understand why, maybe a little time on the Red Lake Reservation would help.

Ddrekonja
Ddrekonja

@NewsCut @kenpaulman You're also not answering q's. As to is n word valid way to qtfy racism-- no idea. Author tries; you call him stupid.

Ddrekonja
Ddrekonja

@NewsCut @kenpaulman Finally, when do you get to see "notes in red pen" on? Most journals don't publish reviewer comments (some exceptions)

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@Ddrekonja @kenpaulman Tell you what. Why don't YOU describe your quantification for a racial animus for this geographical area.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@Ddrekonja @kenpaulman I'll take that as "no, I'm not going to answer your questions." So. Thanks, then.

Ddrekonja
Ddrekonja

@NewsCut @kenpaulman And, do you know enough about the statistical models used to say whether they are valid or not?

Ddrekonja
Ddrekonja

@NewsCut @kenpaulman Again, have you read entire 52 pages? I have not, but am also not declaring it not a good paper, nor the author stupid

tomelko
tomelko

@NewsCut @kenpaulman Social scientists have relied heavily on a society's texts for better understanding. Search queries are perfect for it.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@Ddrekonja @kenpaulman It's not like it's hard to find.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@Ddrekonja @kenpaulman Maybe he can get some money to get out of the cubicle, shut off the laptop, come out and see what racism looks like

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@Ddrekonja @kenpaulman And neither of you has answered my questions regarding "n" word as quantifier of racial animus.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@Ddrekonja @kenpaulman So don't shoot for the moon. Shoot for one good paper. We don't get to see the notes in red pen on this one.

Ddrekonja
Ddrekonja

@Ddrekonja @NewsCut @kenpaulman (cont) one conclusive paper is not feasible.

Ddrekonja
Ddrekonja

@Ddrekonja @NewsCut @kenpaulman (cont) more work, answer questions raised, etc. In academia, papers count, so to hold it all for one (cont)

Ddrekonja
Ddrekonja

@NewsCut @kenpaulman You may not understand research-- it is never "done". This may serve as pilot data to get grant/protected time for more

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut @Ddrekonja No, it's absolutely not like that at all. Have you read the paper?

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman @Ddrekonja It's kind of like asking "hey I just talked to one guy" is it OK if I put out my story now even tho more are needed?

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut @Ddrekonja When is research "done"?

Ddrekonja
Ddrekonja

@Ddrekonja @NewsCut @kenpaulman Perfectly standard for a PhD candidate (or any early researcher) to start small, generate hypotheses, etc

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@Ddrekonja @kenpaulman But you can only gussy up "oooohhh, look what I found on Goodle" so much. Tomorrow's economists, no doubt.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@Ddrekonja @kenpaulman Of COURSE they have to start somewhere. And when the research is done, THEN release your paper and let it stand.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman But if someone wants to offer the Michele Bachman theory of science (hey someone told me something), knock yourself out

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman I would say ranking based on a questionable description of racial animus is itself racist against vics of racism not in the grp

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut Who said that a vote against Obama is racist?

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut Hey, I'm not the one trying to break into the peer-review business, here...

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman It's OK w/me if ppl want to pick their data to support view that a vote against Obama is racist. But that doesn't quanitfy....

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman I would say your view is closer to the "see? It's really just about air fresheners" view. :*)

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman If your view is data is data and data=data, then there's no use examining the point further. Here's a PhD.

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut Agree. My point is just that "this is BS because Google" isn't a very compelling critique. Data is data.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman I would posit that you can't. for one thing, you lack a control group.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman For ex.can u really paint a racial animus between states w/say hi Afr/Am low Latino vs one with high Latino/low AfAm, using "N"

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman ... having a fairly tolerant racial animus, it's up to us to determine if a posited racial animus tests out across races, for ex

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman It's up to us, then, to examine the conclusions, then, isn't, to find out if it's valid. If Minnesota, say, is painted as...

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut He's drawing a conclusion from a set of data. That's what they do.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman Which makes it a case of "this I believe." PhDs now are the AOL disks of the '80s.

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut I don't think the paper is being offered as a scientific conclusion, nor am I suggesting it is.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman Tell you what. You go learn the difference between anecodtal evidence and scientific evidence, and I'll try again later.

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@CClonts @NewsCut I never said it did.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman That would be anecdotal data. it's not scientific data.

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut Well, sure. It's a brief summary in a blog post. You still haven't explained why the methodology is invalid.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman Some people won't vote for Romney because he's Mormon. But that's different from saying your quantifying racism. You're not.

CClonts
CClonts

@kenpaulman Wow, stereotype much?The South has no monopoly when it comes to racism. @newscut

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman It's pretty much as scientifically valid as Bachmann's declaring vaccines cause mental illness.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman The article is rife with lack of detail on a per sentence basis. It's tripe. That's why it's on an opinion page and not news.

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut Maybe. But is the idea that *some* people won't vote for Obama just b/c he's black really all that radical? Ever been to the South?

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut *In the context of the presidential election*

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman The people who just want to foster the notion that a vote against Obama is racially motivated are willing to overlook method.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman He says he attempted to quantify racial prejudice in the country. he didn't say racial prejudice against African Americans.

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut Looks like the real problem here is City Pages taking 4-month-old news and putting a bad headline on it.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman Also how would typing in an "N" word reflect, for example, on racism toward Native Americans, or Hmong, or Latinos?

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman Is typing "n" word into Google more/less indicative racism than, say, disparate sentencing. Or racial profiling?

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut Or course not. One person typing something isn't statistically significant. But millions?

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman also, by your standard, me just typing that into the search engine has meaning. it doesn't.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman Yes, I'm aware of that. Both are equally stupid determiners. But in the absence of real science and study...

kenpaulman
kenpaulman

@NewsCut Pretty sure the paper didn't do that either. Just tried to measure relative bias among states. But again, I haven't read it.

MyLittleBloggie
MyLittleBloggie

@kenpaulman If you're declaring a state racist/not racist on basis of number of times "n" word has been searched for, I'd say so.

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