Quantifying the Reclamation of Jewish Slurs

Cal Poly Logo

About the Project

People’s diction can display their true feelings. We took a look at the trends of anti-Semitic search trends, to try and gauge the public’s feelings on Jewish people over time. Specifically, we looked at the use of Jewish slurs, specifically "Shiksa" and "Jewboy."

This research showed a way that hierarchical clustering can be used to reveal people’s intentions when we did the groupings. Without the clustering, it would’ve been impossible to know which words were to be correlated with each other, revealing their contexts. The clustering can be applied to all sorts of topics via Google Trends. The pattern seems to be that Google is a space for people to ask clarifying questions and learn more about a topic. It doesn’t seem to be a place where people express racism or use slurs in a derogatory way. The pattern of reclamation is a success story, Jewish groups reclaiming slurs that were once used to oppress them. We think it would be interesting to see if this pattern continues in other minority groups.


  • Ellie Dynes, Statistics
  • Dr. Kelly Bodwin, Statistics