Political feelings always run high in the home stretch of a campaign, but anyone looking to find the most depressing, offensive comments needed to look no further than Twitter after President Barack Obama won re-election over Mitt Romney.
Now the brains at FloatingSheep.org have found which states saw the most racist tweets sent out. Using software that tracked where tweets were sent from, the researchers sought the "n-word," “monkey,” “Obama,” “reelected” and “won” starting on Nov. 1 and continuing until the election results were final. Floating Sheep also used a location quotient inspired method that assigned more weight to especially derogatory tweets.
“A score of 1.0 indicates that a state has relatively the same number of hate speech tweets as its total number of tweets. Scores above 1.0 indicate that hate speech is more prevalent than all tweets, suggesting that the state's ‘twitterspace’ contains more racist post-election tweets than the norm,” the site explained.
The numbers were published in a large interactive map, which you can find by clicking here. The greener a state was on the map, the more racist messages were sent from there.
Mississippi and Alabama were the worst offenders, followed by Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Utah and North Dakota. Among the states with the lowest numbers were New York, Arizona, Illinois, Nevada and California.
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The study wasn’t without limitations, though, as noted by Gawker: “The South had a higher proportion of Romney supporters than the rest of the country. It's only naturally that more people in those states would have been disappointed with the results of the election. So even if there were more racist tweets, it's because there was a bigger pool of disgruntled voters to begin with, not that they are more racist than anywhere else.”
The researchers also did not filter for the number of tweets sent by individuals, although the map makes it clear there was not much possibility for one person to affect the average. Floating Sheep’s FAQ page justified not studying offensive or bigoted tweets targeting Romney because the tweets about Obama outnumbered them by 7 to 15 percent.
As in any major competition between a white man and black man, public racism would seem to be an unfortunate inevitability. In one unrelated story, a California woman was fired from her job earlier this week after taking to Facebook to use the n-word and imply Obama should be assassinated. She later stood by her comments, saying she “wouldn’t dwell on it” if he were killed.