28 May 2013
THE GEOGRAPHY OF HATE
The project ~ over the course of a year, geotag every tweet in the U.S. in which hate speech was directed against gays, other races, or the disabled. Then, map those tweets so that the viewer can interactively see where particular prejudices, and even specific hate speech, occurs. Finally, present the map on a readily accessible website.
The image above (click to enlarge) is the map of all the homophobic tweets deemed hateful. At the original interactive map, viewers can see similar maps for racist and ableist tweets, and even parse the data to examine the geographic distributions of individual words. Those words include ~
homophobic ~ dyke, fag, homo, queer
racist ~ chink, gook, wetback, nigger, spick
disability ~ cripple
The color scale indicates the presence of more hate tweets as one progresses from pale to dark blue, and even more from dull to vivid red. The distribution is influenced by population density, and by the degree to which residents use Twitter. Where there are more people, there is more potential for bigotry.
The results are instructive, both nationally and regionally. For instance, the most frequent occurrence of hate tweets in my home state of Montana appears in Helena, the state capitol ~ a disquieting prospect.