Everyday Antiracism in Action: Preference Organization in Responses to Racism

Whitehead, Kevin A.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This paper examines features of preference organization in disaffiliative responses to possibly racist actions, drawing on a corpus of over 120 hours of recorded interactions from South African radio call-in shows. My analysis demonstrates how features of dispreferred turn shapes provide producers of possibly racist actions with opportunities to withdraw or back down from them. In cases where these opportunities are not taken up, subsequent responses may progressively include more features of preferred turn shapes. Responses may also include features of preferred turn shapes from the outset, thereby treating the prior actions as unequivocally racist. Responses that treat prior actions as such, however, also recurrently exhibit features of dispreference, thereby displaying speakers’ orientations to “cross-cutting preferences” in responding to racism, with disaffiliative responses being “dispreferred” actions in some senses but “preferred” actions in others. I conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for everyday antiracism in interactional settings.
Racism, antiracism, interaction, conversation analysis, preference organization
Whitehead, K. A. (2015). Everyday antiracism in action: Preference organization in responses to racism. Journal of Language and Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1177/0261927X15586433.