IN JUNE 2013, RACIST TWEETS WERE CAPTURED FROM SIX DIFFERENT CANADIAN CITIES OVER A 3 MONTH TIME SPAN.
Using hootsuite, a social media management platform. Each city was searched via hootsuite, looking for any tweets containing the following racist words in a negative context: native(s); white trash; nigger(s); paki(s); and chink(s).
These words were chosen because the majority of the words represent the most common racist terms associated with specific racialized groups. The term native, which is not usually associated with being a racist word, was surprisingly used in a negative way on twitter, and as such, was included as one of the key terms for this data set.
During the data collection stage, each tweet that came up which contained one of the above words was read by the researcher to determine the context of the tweet. For the purpose of this project, only tweets which contained the above words in a NEGATIVE context were captured in the data.
The data offers some initial results that generate a sense of what racialized groups are most commented on in a negative way online in these six Canadian cities and in what context (see next panel).
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE METHODOLGY USED FOR THIS STUDY
Although this data is very tentative, it is interesting to see that the cities with the highest number of Aboriginal residents (Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Calgary) have the term natives used most often in a negative context in the tweets gathered for this study. Toronto and Montreal - two cities with the highest black population in the country - also have the term nigger(s) used most often in a negative context in the tweets gathered for this study
AFTER CONDUCTING A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF EACH TWEET, THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES WERE DEVELOPED (USING SIMILAR CATEGORIES FROM A 2014 DEMOS STUDY, P.24) TO GIVE CONTEXT AROUND HOW THE TWEETS WERE BEING USED. BELOW IS A SUMMARY OF THE RESULTS:
REAL TIME RESPONSE - 50%
NEGATIVE STEREOTYPE - 28%
CASUAL USE OF SLUR - 12%
RESPONSES TO RACISM - 4%
TARGETTED ABUSE (ONLINE) - 2%
APPROPRIATED - 2%
"NON-DEROGATORY" - 2%