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The doublespeak discourse of the race disparity dudit: An example of the White racial frame in institutional operation

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Heather Smith



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The Race Disparity Audit (RDA) was published in 2017 by the then Conservative Government of the UK. The proclaimed aims were to ‘reveal racial disparities and to help end the injustices that many people experience’. This paper adopts a critical discourse analysis approach to analysing the RDA and associated webpages, to critically examine the government’s purported aims. The linguistic analysis reveals a pernicious form of political doublespeak which effects a maintenance of the status quo. In excluding racism as a cause of disparities, the audit acts to de-legitimise anti-racism as part of the solution, thereby preventing actions with the potential to end racial injustices. The analysis is explained by reference to Feagin’s (2013) white racial frame in institutional operation. The paper concludes by exposing the ramifications of this for future policy development by reference to an education policy development borne from the RDA.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Smith HJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education

Year: 2023

Volume: 44

Issue: 1

Pages: 1-15

Print publication date: 01/02/2023

Online publication date: 29/05/2021

Acceptance date: 08/05/2021

Date deposited: 09/05/2021

ISSN (print): 0159-6306

ISSN (electronic): 1469-3739

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/01596306.2021.1931035


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