You are here

Part 2: Related Concepts

Photo of Nelson Mandela with a quote of him.


Racism is a product of the complex interaction in a given society of a race-based worldview with prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. Racism can be present in social actions, practices, or political systems (e.g., apartheid) that support the expression of prejudice or aversion in discriminatory practices.

The ideology underlying racist practices often includes the idea that humans can be subdivided into distinct groups that are different in their social behaviour and innate capacities and that can be ranked as inferior or superior.

Photo of girl celebrating the Arab Spring.
Arab spring in Tunisia brought an end to decades of dictatorship.

Racist ideology can become manifest in many aspects of social life. Associated social actions may include xenophobia, otherness, segregation, hierarchical ranking, supremacism, and related social phenomena.

The Book of Roger is a famous geography book written by Al-Idrisi in 1154 for Roger II of Sicily. The maps in this book where copied unchanged for three centuries. The book appeared in Rome towards the end of the 16th century. And in 1619 it was published in Paris.


Ilustration of Muslim woman and the fear.

Fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign. Xenophobia. Trevor Lunde. With permission


Ilustration of Lienchestein representing a rumour.

An unofficial interesting story or piece of news that might be true or invented, and quickly spreads from person to person.


Is a way of seeing that imagines, emphasizes, exaggerates and distorts differences of Arab peoples and cultures as compared to that of Europe and the U.S. It often involves seeing Arab culture as exotic, backward, uncivilized, and at times dangerous. Edward W. Said, in his ground- breaking book, Orientalism, defined it as the acceptance in the West of “the basic distinction between East and West as the starting point for elaborate theories, epics, novels, social descriptions, and political accounts concerning the Orient, its people, customs, ‘mind,’ destiny and so on.”

Map of the British Empire in 1886.

A map of the British Empire from 1886. Notice how all the “nations” of the world have their gaze fixed on Britania. All the images around the map represent exotified/orientalist representations of the various peoples in the world under British subjugation.


In sociology, racialization or ethnicization is the processes of ascribing ethnic or racial identities to a relationship, social practice, or group that did not identify itself as such. Racialization and ethnicization is often born out of the interaction of a group with a group that it dominates and ascribes identity for the purpose of continued domination. While it is often born out of domination, the racialized and ethnicized group often gradually identifies with and even embraces the ascribed identity and thus becomes a self-ascribed race or ethnicity. These processes have been common across the history of imperialism, nationalism, and racial and ethnic hierarchies.

Learn more about myths and stereotypes on Part 3