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“A stinking filthy race of people inbred with criminality”: A discourse analysis of prejudicial talk about Gypsies in discussion forums


Gypsies have been shown to be a group subject to extreme prejudice and discrimination in the UK. The current research explores how Gypsies are portrayed and talked about within UK discussion forums. A discourse analysis was conducted on three discussion forums concerning Gypsies and how they should be treated. The analysis identified the following strategies as being commonly used to express hatred towards, and to argue against right for, Gypsies: (1) referring to Gypsies as the ‘other’ who are abnormal; (2) constructing criminality as a key characteristic of Gypsies; (3) suggesting that some Gypsies are ‘bogus’, which was used to argue against all Gypsies; and (4) presenting Gypsies as outside of the law and given favouritism over settled British communities. The findings are discussed in light of existing literature surrounding the prejudice towards Gypsies and other minorities and suggestions for overcoming this prejudice are presented.