As Americans, some of our most valued rights are derived from the First Amendment to our Constitution — freedom of speech, in particular, has allowed for the unbridled expression of opinion across the country. And with the advent of social media, many of these opinions are being made public upon a stage vaster than any before, sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse. Now, new research from Abodo, a site that helps renters find their apartments, has looked into tolerance in America as told by tweets from various states, and some of the results aren’t pretty.
Abodo came to its conclusions after scraping tweets in the U.S. from June 2014 to December 2015 that contained at least one of 154 keywords that were either deemed derogatory slurs or “neutral language used to describe various groups.” These groups included blacks, Asians, Hispanics and Latinos, Arab and Muslim individuals, women, men, and the LGBTQ community. Words used to describe the differently abled, overweight, little people, and evangelical Christians were also accounted for, ultimately creating a database of around 12 million tweets and their associated locations. And in order to create meaningful and representative results, Abodo “omitted states with fewer than 30 uses of a given term over the time period studied.”
The company found that overall, Louisiana tweeters included the most derogatory language in their tweets, with 1,155 instances of slurs (of any sort) in every 100,000 tweets monitored. This suggests that around 1 in every 87 Louisiana-originating tweets contained some slur against black people, Hispanic or Latino people, women, gays and lesbians, transgender people, people with disabilities, and the overweight. Nevada and Texas are also in the top three, closely followed by Maryland and Delaware.
On the other side of the fence, residents of Wyoming and Montana avoided such language in their tweet, with only 120 and 121 instances of such language, respectively, coming from the two midwestern states. Indeed, the midwest as a whole seems pretty politically correct — South Dakota (192), Idaho (232), Minnesota (284), North Dakota (290), and Wisconsin (298), were all in the bottom 10 for slur usage as well.
Breaking things down even further, Abodo also looked into specific types of derogatory language, or slurs leveled against certain ethnic groups, genders, or sexual preferences. In terms of the use of the N-word, Baltimore, Atlanta, and New Orleans ranked the highest (these cities also claim some of the highest proportions of black citizens). Perhaps unsurprisingly, when it comes to anti-Hispanic sentiment, the chief offenders came from California and Texas, two states most heavily embroiled in the immigration debate.
Derogatory language against women was alarmingly common in comparison to other slurs, with Louisiana, Georgia, and Texas being the worst of the lot. And while there’s actually less anti-gay and anti-transgender sentiment floating around the Twitterverse, it does still exist. Buffalo, New York saw the most homophobic language usage, while Las Vegas tweeters are the most vocal against the trans community.