The invader, the enemy within and they-who-must-not-be-named: how police talk about minorities in Italy, the Netherlands and France

Abstract : How people talk about ethnic minorities is a sensitive subject, especially in law enforcement. We know little about it as far as continental Europe is concerned. This article is about how police officers talk about minorities in France, in Italy and in the Netherlands. How do speech norms ("political correctness") apply outside the Anglophone world? Is there a relation between speech norms and practices? This exploratory study is based on interviews with 55 police officers from France, Italy and the Netherlands. In these countries, police officers are aware that displaying overt racism is not socially desirable. Interviews show that there are vastly different speech norms governing decent race talk in the three countries. Specifically, we compare: how police use ethnic categories; how police anticipate accusations of discrimination; and how police theorize the over-representation of ethnic minorities in crime. French respondents respect much stricter speech norms than Dutch or Italian ones.
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François Bonnet, Clotilde Caillault. The invader, the enemy within and they-who-must-not-be-named: how police talk about minorities in Italy, the Netherlands and France. Ethnic and Racial Studies, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2015, 38 (7), pp.1185-1201. ⟨10.1080/01419870.2014.970566⟩. ⟨hal-01076723⟩

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