In order to do justice for people, must we be unjust to words? Surely, the word racialized is as ugly as the phenomenon it purports to describe. But its ugliness is not in the harshness of its sound, but rather in the vacuity of its current usage. The justice warrior has appropriated a sociologist’s word and, erringly, turned it on its head. When people are racialized, they identify or define themselves on the basis of race. Malcolm X was racialized; Martin Luther King, Jr. was not.
Justice rests on universal truths about humankind that transcend race. When we speak of justice for racialized minorities, with the best of intentions, we say less than nothing.