We present a Jones matrix method useful to analyze coherent optical Fourier processors employing structured polarization. The proposed method is a generalization of the standard classical optical Fourier transform processor, but considering vectorial spatial functions with two complex components corresponding to two orthogonal linear polarizations. As a result we derive a Jones matrix that describes the polarization output in terms of two vectorial functions defining respectively the structured polarization input and the generalized polarization impulse response. We apply the method to show and analyze an experiment in which a regular scalar diffraction grating is converted into equivalent polarization diffraction gratings by means of an appropriate polarization filtering. The technique is further demonstrated to generate arbitrary structured polarizations. Excellent experimental results are presented. © 2011 Optical Society of America.