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“Why do white people have thin lips?” : Google and the perpetuation of stereotypes via auto-complete search forms

Baker, Paul and Potts, Amanda (2013) “Why do white people have thin lips?” : Google and the perpetuation of stereotypes via auto-complete search forms. Critical Discourse Studies, 10 (2). pp. 187-204. ISSN 1740-5904

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Abstract

This study highlights how the auto-complete search algorithm offered by the search tool Google can produce suggested terms which could be viewed as racist, sexist or homophobic. Google was interrogated by entering different combinations of question words and identity terms such as ‘why are blacks…’ in order to elicit auto-completed questions. Two thousand, six hundred and ninety questions were elicited and then categorised according to the qualities they referenced. Certain identity groups were found to attract particular stereotypes or qualities. For example, Muslims and Jewish people were linked to questions about aspects of their appearance or behaviour, while white people were linked to questions about their sexual attitudes. Gay and black identities appeared to attract higher numbers of questions that were negatively stereotyping. The article concludes by questioning the extent to which such algorithms inadvertently help to perpetuate negative stereotypes.

Item Type: Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title: Critical Discourse Studies
Uncontrolled Keywords: discourse analysis ; google ; stereotypes ; Linguistics & English Language
Subjects:
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Linguistics & English Language
ID Code: 63268
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 08 Apr 2013 08:51
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 22 May 2018 03:49
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/63268

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