Google Searches And Black Mortality

Posted in GSU photo archive, Race, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on April 29, 2015








PG was trolling twitter one day when an item caught his eye. @Flyswatter There’s a correlation where racist Google searches and high black mortality rates occur. The tweet linked to an article at HuffPo (the long winded sister of PoPo) with the disturbing title The Connection Between Racist Google Searches And Black Mortality Rates.

“A new study shows a chilling correlation between the number of racist Google searches in an area and the long-term mortality rates of the black people living there. … David Chae … an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, determined how racist a geographic area was by how frequently an epithet for African-Americans appeared in area Google searches. Internet searches are a good way of measuring societal attitudes, Chae said, because people don’t self-censor in their own homes. Areas with the most searches for the epithet “n*****” had the highest mortality rates among African-Americans, found the study, which Chae and seven coauthors published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. “

The article refers to a serious scientific study, Association between an Internet-Based Measure of Area Racism and Black Mortality. Some people with degrees broke the country into 192 Designated Marketing Areas. In the DMA where people performed more Google searches for the “n-word,” Black people were more likely to die.

“In this study, we investigated the utility of a previously developed Internet search-based proxy of area racism as a predictor of Black mortality rates. Area racism was the proportion of Google searches containing the “N-word” in 196 designated market areas (DMAs). Negative binomial regression models were specified taking into account individual age, sex, year of death, and Census region and adjusted to the 2000 US standard population to examine the association between area racism and Black mortality rates, which were derived from death certificates and mid-year population counts collated by the National Center for Health Statistics (2004–2009) DMAs characterized by a one standard deviation greater level of area racism were associated with an 8.2% increase in the all-cause Black mortality rate, equivalent to over 30,000 deaths annually.”

“This previously developed variable was calculated as the proportion of total Internet search queries containing the “N-word” (singular or plural) using Google from 2004–2007. More colloquial forms of the “N-word” (i.e., ending in “-a” or “-as”) were not included given prior analysis of top searches revealing that these versions were used in different contexts compared to searches of the term ending in “-er” or “-ers” … Area racism was standardized so that a one-unit increase in area racism indicates a one standard deviation higher proportion of Google searches containing the “N-word.””

The study was inspired by a New York Times article, How Racist Are We? Ask Google. In this study, areas where people googled the “er” version of the “n-word” were less likely to vote for Barack Obama. “(I did not include searches that included the word “n**ga” because these searches were mostly for rap lyrics.)” LANGUAGE ALERT Use caution when reading this article. It uses the “n-word,” using all six letters without any euphemizing symbols.

The study claims to have been peer reviewed. It does not indicate the race of the people making google searches for the “n-word that ends in er.” This search statistic, which is not broken down on the internet, is the only measure of “racism” that is used. The mortality statistics for mixed race, and non black POC are not mentioned. Media coverage of sporting event riots was not discussed.

Pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.









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