Random Asides

Bad Chart Thursday: Map of Hate Speech against Conservative White Male Christians

Rebecca is off to the Women in Secularism 2 conference, so I’m covering Bad Chart Thursday this week. In today’s Quickies, Amanda included a link about a map showing hotspots in the United States for racist, homophobic, and ableist language in geotagged tweets, and commenters expressed valid concerns and questions about the methodology and data presentation. So I went to investigate further, finding more information in the FAQ about the map and the original post accompanying it.

Several people commenting on the latter post raised additional concerns, such as about the conspicuously absent data for hate speech against women as well as the even more shockingly glaring absence of data on hate speech against white, conservative, pro-gun, Christian men.

So of course I had to remedy the injustice. Below, I give you a map illustrating data on the hate speech oppressing conservative white male Christians in the United States, shown in hot pink. (I lumped it all together because those white guys all look the same anyway, amiright?)


Melanie Mallon

Melanie is a freelance editor and writer living in a small town outside Minneapolis with her husband, two kids, dog, and two cats. When not making fun of bad charts or running the Uncensorship Project, she spends her time wrangling commas, making colon jokes, and putting out random dumpster fires. You can find her on Twitter as @MelMall, on Facebook, and on Instagram.

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  1. Was there a good faith effort made to verify these “statistics”? Or is it impossible in principle for there to be hate-speech against an empowered group?

    1. There are no statistics to verify because, yes, it is impossible for an empowered group to be oppressed by hate speech. I did debate putting a hot pink dot in my location for this post but figured that would say way too much about the secret power I hold over the lives, jobs, and overall opportunities of this population. In fact, I’ve already said too much.

      1. Have you presented at any conferences? You’re hilarious and clever. If that isn’t happening already, it needs to start happening!

        1. Thank you! I am organizing SkepchickCon at CONvergence this year, but I am not on the panels because this is my first year doing it, and I am not sure how much I’ll be running around taking care of things. I’m sure I’ll find some time to at least cover some critical thinking principles via random interpretive dance, though.

  2. “Conservative white male Christians shown in hot pink” cracked me up!
    But the chart shows no pink in Firefox – will check at work using IE.

      1. Ha! I’m and idiot! Good one!
        (In my defense it was like 6am and I need a coffee so bad )

  3. If I move the browser window just so, there’s a pink dot right over my house(ish)!

    Of course, it’s a bad pixel on my monitor. But still … PROOF!

    1. I still do something similar with Venn diagrams and a brown speck on my screen just for the giggles.

    2. On more than one occasion, I’ve tried to delete the “extra period” that’s really just lunch spray on my screen.

  4. I think that the criteria of hate speech *oppressing* conservative white male Christians is setting the bar too high–this is Twitter we’re talking about. To actually oppress someone you need a more powerful online tool, such as a bad Amazon review.

    Seriously, though, I can’t imagine there being any subset of humanity against which hate speech cannot be found on Twitter.

    1. Or GoodReads. I hear that’s a rough venue.

      I used “oppressing” (somewhat awkwardly) to clarify that I meant hate speech versus saying something insulting because that was the original point, I think, of the map this stemmed from. They weren’t attempting to just catalog the horrible things we say to each other in general so much as point out how pervasive it is to target groups of people who already face systematic prejudice in multiple ways in society in general. (And they were tying this to particularly areas, which I think they failed to do, but the numbers the map is based on are still telling).

      I mean, sure, I can be insulted for being white, and it might hurt and could be described as hateful, but it’s not piling on to the racism I experience in stores, job interviews, the workplace, media, etc., experiences that stem in part from people condoning the racism widely in their social groups, communities, places like Twitter. It’s an easier phenomenon to see with religion. Christians claiming persecution when they are the majority not only in numbers but as a default in US culture is pretty easy to see as silly, even more so because beliefs are a choice and race and disabilities aren’t.

      But yes, I totally chose an easy target here. What can I say, it’s Bad Chart Thursday.

  5. Before I read to look for hot pink, I just saw a cluster of activity in the central US and Alaska, represented in dark grey. After a moment of confusion, I quickly realised that I have to clean my monitor.

  6. Melanie

    Looks like anti white male Christian bigotry is practically uniform throughout the country. My master Satan has done his job well! :)

    In all seriousness through, it probably does exist, in American although given the fact that Christians make up the overwhelming majority of the population, of the country, Also combine that with the fact that white males are the ones with most of the power here, its highly unlikely that American Anti white male Christian bigotry will ever be a significant problem in our lifetime.

    1. Melanie,

      Off course that won’t stop the religious right from claiming that Christians are being oppressed since they can’t always get away with forcing their religion on the rest of society.

      1. Yeah, hateful speech against white male Christians exists, of course, but it’s definitely not hate speech in the sense of that term referring to speech that that perpetuates bigotry that has significant, disproportionate effects on entire groups of people in our society. The commenter I linked to not only asked why they weren’t cataloging hate speech against white male Christians (who are pro gun and pro Constitution o_O), he specifically asked why they didn’t include the hate speech of “black racists.” It’s like complaining that the person you’re kicking bit your toe!

  7. <a href="http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/initiatives_awards/students_in_action/debate_hate.html"The ABA has an interesting page on this with some tortured logic. From their discussion, I conclude that the chart here at Skepchick is completely incorrect.

    In R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, 505 U.S. 377 (1992), the Supreme Court saw that what would clearly be fighting words if they were directed at someone worthy of protection were completely protected under the First Amendment since the target was not white. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin v. Mitchell, 508 U.S. 476 (1993), the Court saw that hate that prompted some black youths to assault a random white person clearly made their crime deserving of greater punishment. There’s some discussion about individual vs. group rights (funny, the targets of the cross burning in R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul seemed like individuals to me), but in the end, the message is clear: Only white people can be the targets of hate speech; other people just have to suck it up when targeted by white people’s protected speech.

    1. Wow. Talk about missing the entire point of the term hate speech. This was a depressing read.

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