How disturbing is this? A map of the great United States in all her glory – and all her prejudice. Research site Floating Sheep generated a detailed hate map of racism, homophobia and ableism based on geotagged Twitter tweets. Aside from the sad fact, in 2013 people still continue to provide a lifeline for prejudiced viewpoints, the eruption of social media has introduced us to a crowd of people who are comfortable sharing the ignorance with the world.
According to Floating Sheep, a group of students from Humboldt State University sifted through tagged tweets in search of derogatory comments and hate-filled rhetoric. Reviewing over 41K tweets containing the “N” word, nearly 100K tweets containing the term “h*mo”, and a trail of other tweets using derogatory terms aimed at Asians, Hispanics, and other minority groups, students read and coded every tweet on Twitter to decipher the mood of each tweet to determine if the offensive terms were used positively, negatively or neutrally.
Even as I read the data online, a female commenter piped in with a (sincere) statement. She said: “There are things that I don’t like about different races, gays, etc. but that doesn’t mean that I hate them.”
And she meant it.
She doesn’t see the problem with grouping an entire race or group of people together in one barrel and saying “there are things I don’t like about (all of) you”. Never mind the reality that she hasn’t met every single individual from the particular race or group, in her mind, that doesn’t matter. She judges on a whole. And what she’s essentially saying is all “insert race/group here” people act alike, think alike, talk alike or do XYZ, and I don’t like them. I don’t always hate them, but I just don’t really like them either.
That mentality is prejudice. It’s an old outdated thought process that’s ignorant and unacceptable. And unfortunately, as this study proves – it’s (still) the way of the world.