Multidimensional racism classification during COVID-19: stigmatization, offensiveness, blame, and exclusion

Xin Pei, Deval Mehta

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Transcending the binary categorization of racist texts, our study takes cues from social science theories to develop a multidimensional model for racism detection, namely stigmatization, offensiveness, blame, and exclusion. With the aid of BERT and topic modelling, this categorical detection enables insights into the underlying subtlety of racist discussion on digital platforms during COVID-19. Our study contributes to enriching the scholarly discussion on deviant racist behaviours on social media. First, a stage-wise analysis is applied to capture the dynamics of the topic changes across the early stages of COVID-19 which transformed from a domestic epidemic to an international public health emergency and later to a global pandemic. Furthermore, mapping this trend enables a more accurate prediction of public opinion evolvement concerning racism in the offline world, and meanwhile, the enactment of specified intervention strategies to combat the upsurge of racism during the global public health crisis like COVID-19. In addition, this interdisciplinary research also points out a direction for future studies on social network analysis and mining. Integration of social science perspectives into the development of computational methods provides insights into more accurate data detection and analytics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number131
JournalSocial Network Analysis and Mining
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Deviant behaviours
  • Racism
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Communication
  • Media Technology
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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