The concept of racialization refers to the processes by which a group of people is defined by their “race” (Yee, 2008).
The term racialized highlights the fact that race is a social construct. The "processes of racialization begin by attributing racial meaning to people's identity and, in particular, as they relate to social structures and institutional systems, such as housing, employment, and education. In societies in which “White” people have economic, political, and social power, processes of racialization have emerged from the creation of a hierarchy in social structures and systems based on 'race' (Yee, 2008).”
We now know that race doesn't exist scientifically. However, there is a long history of scientific racism that was popularized by Samuel Morton. Dr. Morton believed that the skulls of different "races" could be used as a racial hierarchy. He was praised for "'giving to the negro his true position as an inferior race'" (Kolbert, 2018).
Spaces can be racialized. Cities and towns have historically been organized by race with the black population segregated from the white neighborhoods. Even public spaces can be racialized. BIPOC have had the police called on them for existing in "white" spaces like a college dorm or dining hall (Wooston, 2018).
Kolbert E. (2018). There’s no scientific basis for race—It's a made-up label. National Geographic. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/04/race-genetics-science-africa/ This link opens in a new window
Wooston C. R. (2018). A black Yale student fell asleep in her dorm’s common room. A white student called police. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2018/05/10/a-black-yale-student-fell-asleep-in-her-dorms-common-room-a-white-student-called-police/ This link opens in a new window
Yee, J. (2008). Racialization. In R. T. Schaefer (Ed.), Encyclopedia of race, ethnicity, and society (Vol. 1, p. 1111). SAGE Publications, Inc. https://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781412963879.n455 This link opens in a new window