ra·​cial·​iza·​tion ˌrā-sh(ə-)lə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce racialization (audio)
plural racializations
: the act of giving a racial character to someone or something : the process of categorizing, marginalizing, or regarding according to race (see race entry 1 sense 1a) : an act or instance of racializing
the racialization of poverty
Historians such as David Roedigger and Noel Ignatiev have illustrated how a series of ethnic minorities, such as the Irish and Ashkenazi Jews, experienced fierce racialization and discrimination but over several generations managed to scale the hierarchy of whiteness.Manning Marable
The racialization of disease that results in entire groups of people being portrayed as dangerous "others" based solely on physical appearance or skin color subjects Asian communities to persistent marginalization.Justin A. Chen et al.
The subsequent criminalization of "illegal aliens" rests upon US citizens' racializations of those residing south of the border and disproportionately endangers Mexican women and children.Ronald L. Mize

Examples of racialization in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Cheng dedicates a chapter to Wong, whose iconic image is produced simultaneously by the objectifying practices of film, celebrity, racialization and sexualization. Kathy Chow, Washington Post, 10 July 2023 But the patterns of this racialization have changed over time, shifting in tandem with changes in global power structures. Joseph Thorndike, Forbes, 24 June 2021 Taken together, these trends only extend the racialization of American public affairs. Justin Gest, CNN, 4 Nov. 2022 Because what the racialization says is that white children are off limits. Janice Gassam Asare, Forbes, 11 June 2021 But these issues are complicated by experiences of racialization, discrimination and generally feeling like a member of a minority group, said Abiya Ahmed, associate dean of students and director of the Markaz Resource Center at Stanford. Olivia Sanchez, USA TODAY, 27 Nov. 2022 With that romanticization, came racialization, according to Lee. Leah Asmelash, CNN, 14 Dec. 2021 This interactive resource was created by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service and added a great deal to our understanding of the racialization of geography. Christina Wyman, Wired, 27 Oct. 2021 But the racialization of childhood innocence and withholding that childhood innocence from Black children, then that communicates that Black children are fair game. Janice Gassam Asare, Forbes, 11 June 2021 See More

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

Word History


racialize + -ation

First Known Use

1918, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of racialization was in 1918

Dictionary Entries Near racialization

Cite this Entry

“Racialization.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/racialization. Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

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