BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Could Western New York be one of the most racist places in America? A new study out says “yes”. The information is based on what people search on the internet. This study measures “racist” attitudes through Google search data. The researchers say it’s a way to get accurate information without people censoring themselves.
A study published last month through an international research journal, “PLOS ONE,” used data from Google searches to find out which areas of the country are the most racist.
News 4 asked residents if racism is an issue in Western New York. Patrick Slattery from Buffalo said, “Absolutely. Sometimes you open your eyes in the morning and it seems like its 40 years ago.” Meanwhile Darvin Whitely from Buffalo disagrees to a point, “In certain areas racism is taught, because that’s what their family is used to. Racism is taught. You’re not born racist.”
Western New York was found by the study to have a “higher then average” number of racist searches. The study specifically measured racism as the proportion of Google searches containing the use of the N-word. Researched studied almost 200 particular areas of the country.
CLICK HERE | View the entire study
News 4 asked the Amherst Police Department what it thought about the study. The Assistant Police Chief said while he doesn’t think racism is necessarily a big problem in Amherst if the study is accurate it is a reflection of a much bigger issue across our region.
It doesn’t hurt to treat someone the way you would want to be treated. And if you can remember that and apply it, it would be a much better city.
Assistant Police Chief, Charles Cohen said, “I think it’s sad. I think we’ve made some steps in the right direction over the years. It is easier to conduct ugly behavior over the internet because there is a level of anonymity that doesn’t exist in public free speech.” The research also found that racist searches are correlated with higher mortality rates for African Americans. Other studies have documented the impact racism can have on health among African Americans and the rates of heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
UPDATE | See a follow-up story here.
Some people that News 4 spoke to think violence is a bigger issue.
Rodney Brown from Buffalo told News 4, “Now-a-days people grow up and start being with gangs of violence at 8, 9, or 10. So that’s what I think we should focus on in the City of Buffalo.” Slattery agrees, “It doesn’t hurt to treat someone the way you would want to be treated. And if you can remember that and apply it, it would be a much better city.”