Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Rural South and Northeast are most racist, says study that looked at Google searches for N-word

Rural areas in the South and Northeast are the most racist regions in the U.S., says a PLOS ONE study that looked at Google searches for the N-word in 196 designated television and radio markets where the regional population receives the same, or similar, programming. In a great swath running from Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta, Texas and southern Oklahoma, there were two major outliers, the state-capital markets of Nashville and Little Rock.

"Other hotbeds of racist searches appear in areas of the Gulf Coast, Michigan's Upper Peninsula and a large portion of Ohio," Christopher Ingraham reports for The Washington Post. "But the searches get rarer the further West you go. West of Texas, no region falls into the 'much more than average' category." (Post map)

Researchers say "racist searches were correlated with higher mortality rates for blacks, even after controlling for a variety of racial and socio-economic variables," Ingraham writes. Researchers wrote: "Results from our study indicate that living in an area characterized by a one standard deviation greater proportion of racist Google searches is associated with an 8.2 percent increase in the all-cause mortality rate among Blacks."

"Racially motivated experiences of discrimination impact health via diminished socioeconomic attainment and by enforcing patterns in racial residential segregation, geographically isolating large segments of the Black population into worse neighborhood conditions," the authors wrote. "Racial discrimination in employment can also lead to lower income and greater financial strain, which in turn have been linked to worse mental and physical health outcomes." (To view a PLOS ONE interactive map of the study, click here)

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