Clear and distressing pockets of hate speech.

Our friends over at Floating Sheep released a series of fascinating, if depressing, maps today of the "geography of hate" across America.

The interactive maps are based on a keyword search of geotagged tweets. Students from Humboldt State checked each tweet for a negative, positive, or neutral connotation, ultimately identifying more than 150,000 hateful tweets with this location info. Each negative tweet was totaled by county and then normalized by comparing that to the county's total tweets, enabling the Floating Sheep geographers to identify places with "disproportionately high amounts" of hateful tweets.

Here's their map for racism:

And one for homophobia:

The researchers point out that hateful tweets are broadly distributed, writing that: "when viewing the map at a broad scale, it's best not to be covered with the blue smog of hate, as even the lower end of the scale includes the presence of hateful tweeting activity." They add that there are clear and distressing pockets of hate tweets, and conclude:

Ultimately, some of the slurs included in our analysis might not have particularly revealing spatial distributions. But, unfortunately, they show the significant persistence of hatred in the United States and the ways that the open platforms of social media have been adopted and appropriated to allow for these ideas to be propagated.

In May 2011, I wrote about the geography of hate groups at The Atlantic. At the time, I found hate groups (as opposed to hate speech or hate tweets) to be concentrated in Montana and Mississippi, as well as Arkansas, Wyoming, and Idaho. The Northeast, Great Lakes, and the West Coast had far smaller concentrations of hate groups. I also found hate groups to follow "the more general sorting of America by politics and ideology, religion, education, income levels, and class."

All images courtesy of Floating Sheep.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Design

    Why Amsterdam’s Canal Houses Have Endured for 300 Years

    A different kind of wealth distribution in 17th-century Amsterdam paved the way for its quintessential home design.

  2. photo: San Diego's Trolley
    Transportation

    Out of Darkness, Light Rail!

    In an era of austere federal funding for urban public transportation, light rail seemed to make sense. Did the little trains of the 1980s pull their own weight?

  3. A South Korean woman with a baby in her arms in front of Seoul City Hall in 2005.
    Life

    South Korea Is Trying to Boost its Birth Rate. It's Not Working.

    The country needs to convince more couples to have children. But its biggest city is no paradise for parents.

  4. photo: Developer James Rouse visiting Harborplace in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
    Life

    What Happened to Baltimore’s Harborplace?

    The pioneering festival marketplace was among the most trendsetting urban attractions of the last 40 years. Now it’s looking for a new place in a changed city.

  5. a photo of a street in Zürich, Switzerland.
    Perspective

    What Does This Street In Zürich Mean?

    If you see how cars, streetcars, bikes, and pedestrians use this Swiss street, you can better understand what’s wrong with so many other urban thoroughfares.

×