'Re-educating the Roma? You must be joking...': Racism and prejudice in online discussion forums

Authors

CHOVANEC Jan

Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Discourse & Society
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Citation
Web https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0957926520970384
Doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0957926520970384
Keywords racism; prejudicial discourse; hate speech; online comments; pragmatics; discourse studies; Roma; othering
Description This article explores prejudicial and racist discourse in reader comments in internet news discussion forums. Based on data from an online debate among Czech commenters on the mainstream iDnes.cz news site, it seeks to contribute to the existing critical linguistic approaches to discursive strategies of othering. Analysing user comments referencing a news article on a sensitive social topic, namely the complicated reception of Central European Roma immigrants in the UK, the paper focuses on three salient themes found in the data: (a) the re-education of the ethnic minority; (b) the users’ perception of the media as politically correct and siding with the outgroup; and (c) the outgroup’s negative stereotype associating it with criminality. The paper argues that the discourse on these topics simultaneously relies on and reinforces the negative stereotype of the ethnic group, while revealing a complicated relationship between three stakeholders: the ingroup, represented by the commenters; the outgroup, made up of members of the ethnic groups; and the media, as representatives of the authorities and the elites. The findings reveal how quasi-humorous comments that involve such stereotypical representations contribute to the normalization of everyday racism against ethnic outgroups.
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