ra·​cial·​ism ˈrā-shə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce racialism (audio)
: a belief that race (see race entry 1 sense 1a) determines human traits and capacities
also : racism
racialist noun or adjective
racialistic adjective

Examples of racialism in a Sentence

the racialism of some of the nation's founders seems to contradict their professed belief that “all men are created equal” an ugly incident of racialism that campus police are investigating
Recent Examples on the Web This seed of scientific racialism waxed and reached its peaks in the years around 1900, before waning in the 20th century. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 24 Aug. 2011 In our day, he is reviled for his imperialism, racialism, and even his humorously excessive appreciation for a fine cigar. Peter J. Travers, National Review, 7 Dec. 2021 King never seriously entertained the utopian ideas of Black emigration or the romantic racialism of Muhammad’s Black nationalism. Brandon M. Terry, The New York Review of Books, 11 Mar. 2021 Today, certain people talk about racialism, indigenism, and decolonial theories, but beneath these terms hateful and fanatical agitators want a race war. Harrison Stetler, The New Republic, 24 May 2021 Post-racialism is the promise of working to move beyond the perils of the Black condition in America, an achievement of Black acceleration and exceptionalism; when transcending race was aspirational and thought of to be wholly possible. Taylor Renee Aldridge, Harper's BAZAAR, 23 Feb. 2021 Hawley describes Roosevelt as driven by a combination of warrior republicanism and crude racialism, which at times led him to adopt autocratic racial theories and dreams of imperial conquest. Zaid Jilani, Washington Examiner, 31 Dec. 2020 This fusion of racial grievance and post-racialism created a toxic brew, poisonous to the ongoing efforts to contest white supremacy and protective of the invidious status quo that the Voting Rights Act had tried to interrupt. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, The New Republic, 23 Oct. 2020 Conservatives claimed the report recklessly lumped legitimate politics together with violent threats, and progressives refused to muster a fight with the Obama administration about racist violence during the short reign of post-racialism. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, The New Republic, 23 Oct. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'racialism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


racial + -ism

First Known Use

1880, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of racialism was in 1880

Dictionary Entries Near racialism

Cite this Entry

“Racialism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/racialism. Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


ra·​cial·​ism ˈrā-shə-ˌliz-əm How to pronounce racialism (audio)
: racism
racialist noun or adjective
racialistic adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on racialism

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