Poll: Overweight People, Gays, Blacks Slammed Most Online

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  • Most teens and young adults on Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites see them at least sometimes: slurs, offensive images or mean-spirited video clips that stigmatize groups of people.

    Who’s targeted most often? Overweight people, according to a poll of Internet users ages 14 to 24.

    When does it seem most hurtful? When aimed at transgender people.

    What about potshots at blacks or women? Young people mostly take those as jokes.

    In the poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV, young people take stock of the discriminatory words and images they see online:

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    Who gets slammed online?

    —Those who are overweight (54 percent of young people see them targeted sometimes or often)

    —Gay, lesbian or bisexual people (50 percent)

    —African-Americans (46 percent)

    —Women (44 percent)

    —Men who dress or carry themselves in a feminine way (42 percent)

    —Immigrants (34 percent)

    —Latinos (32 percent)

    —Muslims (31 percent)

    —Women who dress or carry themselves in a masculine way (31 percent)

    —Transgender people (31 percent)

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    Young people are more likely to view slurs or discriminatory images as mean-spirited rather than as a joke when they target:

    —Transgender people (63 percent say it’s most often meant to be hurtful)

    —Muslims (60 percent)

    —Gay, lesbian or bisexual people (54 percent)

    —Those who are overweight (53 percent)

    —Men who dress or carry themselves in a feminine way (53 percent)

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    Racial insults are less likely to be considered intentionally hurtful. A majority of young people say racial groups are maligned mostly in a joking way:

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