Can we find some insight into racism in Australia by what people are searching for? The following analysis uses a variety of internet based tools to try and gain some kind of insight into searcher perceptions towards Australians. If you just want to see the outcomes, skip ahead to the conclusions, otherwise read on to see how it was done.
I thought I’d look at currently hot subject matter in Australia, in the wake of the recent documentary on ABC2, ‘Dumb, Drunk & Racist’. In a nutshell, this documentary discusses the tendency of Indians to view Australians as Racist. The presenter brings Indians to Australia to engage and experience Australia first hand and discuss racist issues along the way. You can view the episodes online at ABC2
I also came across an article mentioning problems with Google suggest showing indications of racist search tendencies in France. For those that don’t know, Google suggest is a Google search feature which makes predictive suggestions to what you are searching for by appending more words onto the end of a query. This works by aggregating the most popular searches and then suggesting what you may be looking for.
I thought I’d scratch around myself with this tool and some others to see if perhaps we could gain some insight into perceptions about Australia & racism within the searcher community.
So what do people around the world think of us Australians? Lets try a few Google suggest queries from google.com
All Australians are…
Indians are… (I couldn’t use ‘all Indians are’, because ‘all Indians are’ is part of the national pledge and all that was suggested in that case were words from the pledge)
Even though most nationalities are looked at quite negatively, only in the Australian query did the word racist appear.
Let’s look deeper at some more specific numbers. The next step was to look at global keyword search volume for the top 19 generally negative search terms towards Australians, Indians & Americans.
Globally there is by far the most negative sentiment towards Americans. But this may simply be because more Americans use search engines and Americans tend to search about themselves more, since they are more aware of themselves. Therefore the second column is more meaningful and shows search volume from elsewhere in the world outside of the target country. So for example, there were 1176 searches per month outside of Australia for the top 19 negative search phrases about Australians.
Results show that although Americans have the most negative sentiment, when looking at volume outside of the target country, Americans and Indians are neck and neck. Indians in fact are the target of the most negative sentiment and Australia is by far the least out of the three.
Lets take another indicator. The page title of a web page represents what the webpage is generally about. We are also assuming that we can gauge the sentiment of a country by looking at what’s written on webpages within that country. (yes I know it’s a big assumption, but it’s the best we have). So we can easily search Google’s index of websites, (which is pretty substantial) to try and find how many page titles contain a certain term, this will tell us in a general sense how prevalent that issue is. So for example, if I search for webpages that contain the words ‘australian racism’ in their title I find that google’s index has 37,500 results. At a glance:
But hey, we expect there to be a lot more webpages written about American racism on google.com as that is essentially the American version of Google and there tend to be the most websites in the US compared with other countries. What is interesting is the amount web page titles that contain the words Indians & racism in the Australian index. Could this be because Indians are writing racist webpages, or because people are commenting on the fact that there is a lot of racism towards Indians? These are 2 opposite conclusions from the same data, but either way it suggests there is something of an issue in Australia.
Amplicate is an online opinion poll on just about everything. The below poll see’s the US as the most hated of all followed closely by Indians. Australians don’t feature on the hate or the love list.
And lastly, a quick glance at the below trend shows that globally there has been an increase in anti-sentiment towards aussies, at least for some keywords like ‘Australians are rude’:
Lets summarise what we have seen:
- From Google Suggest, we saw that in general there are negative connotations connected to all nationalities that are searched for, but only Australians had the connection to racism.
- When looking at exact match searches that people are searching for outside of that specific country, Australia has the lowest negative search volume, suggesting perhaps that people aren’t tempted to think negatively towards us.
- When looking at website titles in the world. ‘Australian Racists’ was more prevalent then ‘indian racists’ but less than ‘american racists’ however ‘racist australians’ was the least prevalent of the three similar terms.
- Interestingly however, is the finding that within Australia the most websites tended to have the Indians and racist in their titles, this could either suggest a strong racist voice towards Indians, or the opposite, concern over the fact there is racism towards Indians in Australia. Either way it does suggest it is an issue
- An online Poll from Amplicate that shows Americans are the most hated people in the world followed not far behind by Indians, but Australia is not even listed
- Search trends for the term ‘Australians are rude’ is certainly on the increase and has been steadily rising in the previous year.
Disclaimer: Can we come to a conclusion from this, certainly NOT. It was an exersize to try and gain some quick insight that should not be taken to heavily. Note that some findings contradicted others, non of the findings were taken from overly reliable data sets and non of the outcomes have been properly tested for statistical significance. I stress that these tools can only be used to get somewhat of an idea of what is occurring but no actual solid conclusions can be drawn from them.
We get the feeling though that Australians don’t fare too bad after all in terms of likeability. There seems to be somewhat more negative sentiment towards Indians within both Australia and the world, which is worrying. At least within Australia, however, a recent survey by the Australia-India Institute has found that there has been a turnaround recently with more Indians coming to Australia. So Perhaps if the above analysis were conducted 2 years ago, searcher intent would be much more negative towards Indians? Hope you enjoyed.
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