Posts Tagged ‘Alabama’
We all saw the headlines and heard the sound bites about racist tweets sent out during the election. Floatingsheep.org, a website founded by geography scientists, measured racist tweets across the country, and Alabama wound up producing the most such tweets among the 50 states. Mississippi came in a close second.
Floatingsheep.org counted tweets that were “geocoded,” meaning the senders had enabled the geo-location sensor on their smart phone or computer, so the scientists, and anyone else who received such tweets, could record where they originated.
For the analysis, these scientists defined racist tweets as those including the words “reelection” or “Obama” or “won” as well as the n-word or the word “monkey.”
They counted those tweets from Nov. 1 through Nov. 7, then compared the number of racist tweets they discovered to the total number of geocoded tweets from each state. This allowed them to compute a “location quotient inspired measure,” also called an LQ.
Alabama got the highest LQ, a whopping 8.2. Coming in a close second was Mississippi at 7.4, which was twice as high as the next state on the list, Georgia.
What I wanted to know is how many racist tweets came from each state, and I could not find that number anywhere in the Floatingsheep.org data posted on their website. So I called Dr. Matt Zook, a professor of geography at the University of Kentucky and one of the scientists who conducted the analysis.
Now close your eyes for a few seconds and try to guess how many racists sent geocoded tweets in Alabama over those seven days, resulting in our No. 1 ranking?
The answer is 14. And maybe not even that. The study found 14 racist tweets sent by people in Alabama, but some of those 14 tweets could have come from the same person. In fact, those 14 tweets could have come from a tour bus full of white supremacists from Boston, Mass., puttering through Alabama during that seven-day period.
I submit that 14 tweets is not a big enough sample to leave us with the ignominy of being the most racist state in the entire Twitterverse.
In fact, if you really take the study to heart, there should be cause for jubilation in Coastal Alabama. Look at the accompanying map produced by Floatingsheep.org. Judging from it, no more racists befoul south Alabama. They’ve all slithered upstate!
But we all know that’s not true: Our moderators at al.com play Whack A Mole with anonymous racist commenters just about every day.
Dr. Zook and Floatingsheep.org have shown that the age-old scourge of racial hatred has metastasized into cyberspace. For that they should be commended. I just think they need a lot more data before tagging us as Racist State Number One.
By the way, although Dr. Zook was mostly forthcoming and helpful, he would not share those 14 tweets with me, not even the twitter handles of the senders. He said Floatingsheep.org is concerned that releasing such data might cause Twitter to shut them out of future research.
But Twitter is a very public space. If you think you might have received one of those 14 racist tweets between Nov. 1 and Nov. 7, please email me. We’ll track down the senders and shine a light on them.Share on Facebook
Alabama and Georgia will try to salvage their laws targeting illegal immigrants in arguments before a federal court that already said there’s a “substantial likelihood” some parts will be thrown out.
A three-judge panel set to hear cases today in Atlanta temporarily blocked Alabama from requiring illegal immigrants to carry registration papers and forcing schools to determine the legal status of students as they enroll. It refused to block other provisions.
The Justice Department and nongovernment advocacy groups are likely to win parts of their challenges to the statutes because the federal government exclusively controls immigration, a different three-judge panel of the court said earlier.
Today’s oral arguments on three cases, two from Alabama and one from Georgia, will take place separately in one session for each state.
Georgia’s law would allow the police to check immigration status and bar transporting illegal aliens in some circumstances. It would require employers to verify whether a worker is a legal resident. The statute was blocked in June by a trial judge’s preliminary injunction. The state appealed.
Both states argue in court papers that they are trying to help the federal government manage immigrants. The laws are aimed at authorities who police and teach illegal residents, not the immigrants themselves, the states say.
Lawyers for Georgia say the law will help prevent illegal immigrants from being “victimized by employers or others” and “forced to work in horrific conditions.”
“The state does not regulate immigration but rather criminalizes its consequences,” Georgia Attorney General Samuel S. Olens said in a brief.
Alabama will get the most time from the judges, 40 minutes for each side in one case and 20 in the other. One suit was filed by the U.S. government and one by the Hispanic Interest Coalition.
Alabama’s law would require students and their parents to provide documentation of their legal status to their schools. The state argues that illegal residents consume scarce government resources.
The documentation rule would “have a chilling effect,” causing children to drop out of school and thus denying them due process of law guaranteed in the Constitution, Justin Cox, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in court papers. The ACLU joined the lawsuits filed by the Hispanic groups in both states.
The Alabama law would encourage illegal residents to “self-deport to states that are supportive” of illegal residents, making it more difficult to find them, the Justice Department said in court papers. The statute “frustrates the federal government’s ability to pursue removal proceedings” when necessary, it said.
The federal government has also sued to block laws aimed at apprehending illegal immigrants and keeping them from taking U.S. jobs in South Carolina, Arizona and Utah.
The U.S. Supreme Court in December agreed to review a ruling against Arizona’s requirement that police officers check the status of someone arrested who they reasonably suspect is in the country illegally. The Georgia and Alabama laws have the same provision.
The Arizona case will be heard in April by the high court.
The cases are U.S. v. State of Alabama, 11-14532, and Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama v. Bentley, 11-14535, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit (Atlanta) and Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights v. Deal, 11-cv-01804, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta).Share on Facebook