Stereotypes according to Google

A few years ago I thought it would be interesting to type “why are ____ so” into Google (filling in the blank with various races, religions, nationalities, etc.) and see what suggestions the autocomplete function provided. I filed the results away and forgot about them, just finding them now as I was cleaning out some old folders.

You can’t replicate these results now. Google has apparently changed the autocomplete algorithm so it blocks such things, presumably because it makes Google look bad if they helpfully suggest that you might want to search for “why are Africans so ugly” or “why are Jews so cheap.” Since this information is no longer available to anyone who searches for it, I thought I’d share the results I got:

  • black people: loud, athletic, funny, angry, cool, mean, good at sports, muscular, good at basketball, religious
  • white people: fake, mean, rude, smart, attractive, rich, good looking, lame, skinny, annoying
  • Asians: smart, rude, thin, short, good at math, cheap, annoying, quiet, rich, perfect
  • Hispanics: rude, short, loud, religious, lazy, family oriented, fertile, proud, smart, annoying
  • men: lazy, mean, shallow, insecure, controlling, visual, immature, moody, annoying, complicated
  • women: emotional, crazy, difficult, mean, beautiful, confusing, needy, shallow, selfish, irrational
  • gays: gay, obnoxious, sensitive, in your face, powerful, feminine, hated, rich, angry
  • Christians: weird, arrogant, happy, nice, fake, annoying, narrow minded, angry, rude
  • atheists: hateful, mean, rude, arrogant, intolerant, smug, annoying, mean to christians, hated in america, aggressive
  • Muslims: angry, strict, sexist, sensitive, intolerant, radical, barbaric, cruel, nice, touchy
  • Mormons: pretty, successful, wealthy, awesome, fake, conservative, pushy, boring, annoying, arrogant
  • Buddhists: happy, selfish, peaceful, annoying, nice
  • Protestants: arrogant, stupid, anti catholic, annoying, ignorant, mean, conservative, bitter, dumb, judgemental
  • Catholics: mean, arrogant, strict, liberal, judgemental, annoying, rich, nice, interested in mary, conservative
  • Jews: cheap, smart, rich, powerful, intelligent, rude, funny, arrogant, persecuted, liberal
  • Republicans: stupid, evil, angry, mean, hateful, greedy, crazy, selfish, religious, paranoid
  • Democrats: stupid, angry, racist, dumb, ignorant, lazy, evil, awesome, ugly, blind
  • liberals: stupid, smug, arrogant, angry, mean, annoying, hateful, racist, naive, ugly
  • conservatives: stupid, hateful, angry, racist, crazy, afraid of obama, paranoid, ignorant, close minded, afraid
  • old people: mean, grumpy, racist, stubborn, cute, slow, angry, boring, dumb, cold
  • young people: stupid, lazy, rude, tall, selfish, depressed, mean, liberal, violent, shallow
  • Americans: stupid, rude, loud, ignorant, religious, tall, patriotic, lazy, paranoid, weird
  • Indians: smart, arrogant, annoying, skinny, short, creepy, good at math, corrupt, successful, loud
  • English people: arrogant, cold, mean, stuck up, funny, boring, skinny, tall, smart, reserved
  • French people: rude, mean, thin, attractive, gay, dark, short, annoying, hot, healthy
  • Africans: ugly, tall, strong, violent, fast, loud, stupid, dark, rude, good at running
  • British people: pale, smart, cool, cold, tan, skinny, polite, rude, lazy, sarcastic
  • Chinese people: rude, loud, smart, weird, short, heartless, cheap, rich, small, annoying
  • Russians: rude, strong, badass, good at chess, angry, rich, tall, weird, crazy, cold

I had planned to do similar searches for several other nationalities, but I didn’t get around to it — and now, as I’ve said, it is everlastingly too late.

Most of the results are no surprise, but I thought some of them were pretty funny. I love how the first result for “why are gays so…” is “…gay.” Also, notice how the British are apparently pale, tan, polite, and rude. (But perhaps some of those suggestions are sarcastic?) Above all, it is most heartening to see how much the Right and the Left have in common.

left-right

It really makes you wonder why politicians choose to focus so much on divisive issues instead of on the many important things that unite us.

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9 Comments

Filed under Language, Politics, Statistics

9 responses to “Stereotypes according to Google

  1. You did this little study in Taiwan? Because in Thailand at least, google’s autofill function still appears to be working, at least for some groups. For instance, trying out the first few groups on your list, I get —
    black people: rude, fast, mean
    white people: rude, weird, racists (I know, ungrammatical….)
    Asians: smart, rude, thin
    Hispanics: no results
    men: mean

    Apparently, many of us are mean and rude…. 🙂

  2. Yes, I get those results, too — but before virtually every group would return 10 different suggestions. Now you usually just get one or two — or zero for some groups, such as Hispanics and Africans. Not enough results to be interesting.

    Here are the results you get now for the political words, for example:
    Republicans: stupid
    Democrats: stupid
    liberals: stupid
    conservatives: (no results)

  3. While its understandable why Google removed the feature, it would be interesting to see how/if the results changed over the years.

  4. So I just tried it with a bunch of inanimate things (cell phones, cars, hamburgers, commercials); also historical figures (Abraham Lincoln, George Washington) and places (Brooklyn, SoHo, Belgium) — it’s always 4 autosuggestions at most, sometimes less. So maybe this was a general change to the algorithm (though it is true that we haven’t found a stereotype that will generate more than 3 autosuggestions).

  5. Really? I just tried George Washington and Brooklyn, and they each brought up 10 suggestions.

    • at Google’s Thai (but still English language) site, https://www.google.co.th
      – George Washington: important, a hero [2 other suggestions come up for George Washington Carver]
      – Brooklyn: cool, dirty, expensive

      Google Taiwan (https://www.google.com.tw) provides much more autosuggestions for the above 2 examples.

      I don’t seem to be able to get Google USA (google.com), because I automatically get sent to Google Thailand.

      If you actually do some searches, you get somewhat different results; I searched for Brooklyn on both the Thai and Taiwanese sites, and results started to differ on page 2.

      I had never thought about regionally different versions of Google returning different results, though it makes sense for (local) products and services…not sure what to make of differential results for other types of information.

      It’s like regional cyberspaces….

  6. Any explanation of Google’s motivation must account for the fact that so many people involved in evolutionary psychology, intelligence research and non-Leftist politics are prompted with ‘racist’.

    This works both to trigger searches, and as a subliminal association with that name.

    And also that any intellectually competent person could understand that prompts lead to more searches in the prompted topics, which then directly amplifies the frequency of those search phrases – so the prompt becomes self-fulfilling and does NOT represent what spontaneously interests people in searching Google.

    Overall, I suppose the Google prompt usage and algorithm is a prime case study of the dishonesty, incompetence and over-arching Leftist/ destructive-of-good political agenda of the modern Mass Media.

  7. Well, to be fair, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and others also bring up the “racist” prompt. I doubt that Google intentionally adds prompts for political reasons — though it obviously does remove them for political reasons.

    And of course you’re right about prompts being self-perpetuating once they get started. Several months ago a prompt gave me “Obama killed his grandmother” — which I clicked on out of curiosity, though it never would have occurred to me to search for it otherwise.

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