25% black Americans have faced online harassment because of their race or ethnicity


According to a published study by Pew Research Center, a wide range of Americans have experienced and experienced offensive behavior on the Internet. While this harassment can take many forms, some minority groups are more likely to experience harassment that has a racial connotation. The racial implication is particularly true of black Americans, a quarter of whom say they have been targeted on the Internet because of their race or ethnicity, compared to 10 percent of Hispanics and 3 percent of whites.

Several survey respondents shared their personal experience in combating racism online. One white respondent said, “Race issues seem to have a big market on Facebook, and this reveals ugliness and a problem that I don’t think should be on social networks”. The black respondent remembered seeing “a conversation about unarmed black people being killed by the police [that] has turned into a full-scale verbal assault with racial insults against people who are opposed to police killings”.

Blacks and Hispanisc

Blacks and Hispanisc are particularly inclined to view online harassment as a pressing problem. For example, blacks (74 percent) and Hispanics (72 percent) are more likely than whites (57 percent) to view online harassment as a “serious problem. Blacks are also more likely to say that it is more important for people to feel safe and wanted online than to be able to express their opinions freely (68% vs 31%). White people are more evenly divided on this issue (51% vs 48%), as are Hispanics (52% vs 46%).

Overall, nearly six to ten black Internet users (59%) claim to have been harassed in any form over the Internet, compared to 41% white and 48% Hispanics. In terms of the specific behavior they experienced, a significant proportion of black Internet users reported being called by offensive names (38%) or being deliberately abused on the Internet (34%). Black internet users are also slightly more likely than white internet users to witness harassment of other internet users (82% as opposed to 71%). And 54% of black Internet users seen particularly severe forms of harassment of others on the Internet (such as physical threats, harassment, sexual harassment or stalking over a long period).

Observations of harassment can leave a strong impression, especially among blacks and Hispanics. For example, 43 percent of black Internet users and 44 percent of Hispanics who witnessed harassment on the Internet felt worried that something similar might happen to them, compared to 33 percent of white Internet users.


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