Monday, 30 January 2023

Hiding behind a verb

Patrick Duffley has an interesting Mercatornet piece on the invention of politically divisive language and its use by a Canadian public body.

In an article on the website of the Canadian Public Health Agency entitled “Inequalities in Health of Racialized Adults in Canada,” one reads that “populations who are racialized in relation to a ‘white’ or non-racialized social group experience stressors including inter-personal and systemic discrimination throughout the life course,” that “racialized adults are less likely to feel that their health is either good or excellent,” and that “racialized Canadians are disproportionately impacted by inequalities in safe and stable housing.”)

As a linguist, I was struck by the repeated use in this article of a new past participle that I was not familiar with — “racialized”. I began to wonder about the implications underlying the use of this verb form, which implies the existence of a verb “to racialize”.

The whole piece is short but well worth reading as an example of how public bodies can be suckered into using politically divisive language.


Doonhamer said...

It is deliberate gibberish (hope I am not offending an unknown Gibber tribe somwhere.
It is intended to bamboozle ( See apology above) those outside the sect, and by inventing words, at a later date they can weasel out of any controversy by explaining that the word meaning is different from what you think it means. See Humpty Dumpty. Before he had his great Fall.
Anyway, I do not like the use of "z". Does that mean I have been alphabetisised, and am now an alphabetesist, suffering from systemic zeephobia.
Must go. There is loud knocking at my door. Probably the Police Zeephobia Correction Squad, mob handed.

A K Haart said...

Doonhamer - it is deliberate gibberish and it is intended to bamboozle. It may be worth inventing a few new pronouns to bamboozle the Police Zeephobia Correction Squad - they will have lost count by now.

Sam Vega said...

It seems as if the term is a response to people pointing out that not all minority groups are worse off. OK, Asians and Chinese in the UK do better than the indigenous population, but the fact we identify them at all means they have been "racialised".

A K Haart said...

Sam - it will be a step forward if the tiresome nature of the race industry ever becomes mainstream.