The discursive deployment of race talk

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While the language that majorities use to convey ethnic attitudes to members of their own group has received significant scholarly attention in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the USA, the ways in which people of colour actually experience prejudice have been largely ignored. Drawing upon interviews with one young black woman in the south of England, this paper presents findings concerning the patterns of talk and the rhetorical strategies followed to recount experiences of differential treatment. The analysis, inspired by a critical discursive approach, points to the negative construction of the majority group and identifies a number of recurring devices used to bolster the facticity of the accounts. These include the presentation and quoting of self and others, the explicit invocation of category entitlements and the use of extreme case formulations, particularly in anticipation of non-sympathetic hearings. Given the prohibitions on making accusations of racism, the paper culminates with a discussion on factuality which this research attributes to the presence of the white interviewer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-474
Number of pages15
JournalLanguage and Intercultural Communication
Issue number4
Early online date12 Sep 2014
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


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