Racialization and Criminalization
Intersection Analysis: Intersection approach takes into account the historical, social and political context
and recognizes the unique experiences of individuals based on an intersection of all relevant grounds,
identities and experiences.
-Identities are so intersected that you cant separate different identities of race, class, gender, etc… Each
identity and social experience gives content to the other
Race and Racialization:
•“Race” as a discource- Edward Said.
•He argues with Foucaults work, Race is the meaning that a culture ascribes to physiological or cultural
characteristics of a group of people
•Race as a social construction - created and given meaning through representation that we have of the
category of race.
•To racialize= to dehumanize (Fanon)
•Racializaton and criminalization as linked social processes:
•Draws attention to the ways in which the connections between race and crime are neither universal nor
•Emphasizes the need to examine relationships between racial meanings
•allows for the exploration of identity making practices
•Allows for a consideration of the ways in which individuals and groups can be understood and
racialized only in relation to one another and in particular historical and geographical context
Racism and the criminal justice system:
-Police provide the point of entry into the criminal justice system
-Police and authoritative power
-Police are not neutral arbitrators. They are products of their own social locations, particularly of police
Advocates of crime statistics based on race:
•Those who want to prove that particular groups have a greater propensity to criminality
•To demonstrate systemic bias, and show the need for reform of the system
Opposition to collecting crime statistics by race:!
Who is using the statistics and for what purpose
•we already know that this discrimination exists
•Could lead to further profiling
•How will racial categories be constructed and sub divided.
Racialization and the law:
•Law is neutral and impartial.
•Reflects the tradition of legal positivism. Liberal belief that rationality and objectivity can be applied to
measure the validity of competing interests. One could examine facts and apply appropriate legal rules.
•Seperation between the makers of rules (legislature/elected officials) and the administrators of law (the
•The “rule of law” -everyone is subjected to the law (even rulers) , everyone is equal before the law
•Formal equality (charter of rights and freedom) substantive equality (recognize that there are patterns of
disadvantage in a given society, they are reflected in our contextualized experiences). Substantive
equality- In order to treat people equal we must note their differences. Fault line, official version of law
is not sociologically in understanding of unique experiences.