Search

STUDY: Apparently, Yelp Reviews Are Racist

A new study suggests that Yelpers are actually racist.

A new study that looks at the language of Yelp restaurant reviews in the gentrifying neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Greenpoint finds that race factors heavily into a Yelp users' perceptions and descriptions of businesses. While Bed-Stuy is a historically black neighborhood, Greenpoint is traditionally Polish, and that different ethnic demographic, has a major impact on users' critiques. Yelp Gil C / Shutterstock.com Ultimately, Yelp reviewers tend to be more racist towards black businesses. The study, written by Sharon Zurkin and Laurie Hurson and Scarlett Lindeman at CUNY, looked at over 7,000 restaurant reviews in the two neighborhoods. Their selection consisted of trendy restaurants that have opened in the last ten years with the "top ten" best reviewed restaurants in both locations. From Grub Street:
The authors focused on 1,056 reviews that explicitly mention the neighborhood. That's 720 reviews that specifically mention Bed-Stuy, and 336 that mention Greenpoint. (Reviews of so-called trendy restaurants were three times as likely to contain some mention of the neighborhood itself.) The uneven breakdown leads the authors to conclude that reviewers draw attention to the neighborhood when the majority of residents are black.
In addition, Yelp reviews called black neighborhoods "hood," "sketchy," and "ghetto" while white neighborhoods were referred to as "cozy" and "authentic". [Journal of Consumer Culture via CityLab]