GOODMAN, S. and BURKE, S., 2010. ‘Oh you don’t want asylum seekers, oh you’re just racist’: a discursive analysis of discussions about whether it’s racist to oppose asylum seeking. Discourse and Society, 21 (3), pp. 325 - 340.
ABSTRACT In this article, we explore how speakers discuss whether or not it is racist to oppose asylum seekers. A discourse analysis is conducted on the parts of a corpus of data collected from focus groups with undergraduate students talking about asylum seeking in which they were asked if it is racist to oppose asylum. It is shown that speakers use the word ‘just’ as part of a contrast structure which is used to present a topic as self-evidently unreasonable. While some participants orient to the taboo against prejudice, it is shown that there is also an orientation to the idea that accusations of racism are unreasonable and that opposition to asylum is usually based on practical and economic reasons rather than racism. These findings are discussed in light of the growing literature surrounding the changing nature of race talk and new taboos on accusations of racism.