Ugly American Racism: “Japs” & “Pearl Harbor” Trending on Twitter During World Cup Match

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    I woke up this morning to headlines of Japan’s victory in the 2011 Women’s World Cup. Congrats, Nadeshiko Japan!

    There are other headlines too. It seems that the ugly online behavior of American fans was newsworthy:

    As USA and Japan battle it out on the field to be the considered best women’s soccer team in the world, Americans have taken to twitter to air some racist thoughts. The game has created numerous trending topics on Twitter including names of American players as well as “Japs” and “Pearl Harbor.”

    Pearl Harbor is when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, killing thousands and spurring the American’s entry into World War 2. It is considered one of the saddest days in American history. Japs is a racist term Americans and other allies used against the Japanese in WW2.

    In my previous post about pre-match ugliness on Facebook, I thought I was highlighting only a few American soccer fans. It was only a few dozen Facebook updates. Unfortunately, it seems I may have been highlighting only the tiny tip of a gigantic iceberg. If “Japs” and “Pearl Harbor” were on in the top trending terms on Twitter, it means that thousands and thousands of users would have needed to use them in tweets.

    A quick search on OpenBook.org revealed that Facebook had also been hit by huge numbers of hateful status updates:

    The number of hateful facebook status updates visible on Openbook is pretty huge – far more than what I found the other day.

    As I write this post, it’s been over 4 hours since the end of the match. I checked Twitter, and the terms were still trending!

    Fortunately, most of the tweets right now seem to be from people commenting on how embarrassing it is to see both terms on the trending list. We can also see that “Congrats Japan” has a higher place on the list.

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