There’s a long history behind the way people of color have been labeled. For centuries, we have been called discriminatory names. Over time, we started to reclaim so many words that were an attempt to alienate us and bring us down.
While we’ve been accustomed to using the term people of color (POC) to describe many from around the world, there’s an emerging term that has begun to gain momentum in an effort to be more inclusive and bring more individuals into the conversation.
The term BIPOC represents Black, Indigenous and People of Color. According to The BIPOC Project, it’s a way of building a collective community and “undoing Native invisibility, anti-Blackness, dismantling white supremacy and advancing racial justice.”
So why should we use BIPOC over POC? Using the term promotes the inclusion of all people of color who have also been mistreated, misrepresented and discriminated against for the color of their skin, their culture or their way of life. It unites marginalized communities together, uplifts their voices and highlights all multiracial backgrounds in a way that doesn’t erase the identities of other people of color like Black and Indigenous people.
But, is it bad to just use POC? No, but keep in mind that some stories, issues or representations exclude Black and Indigenous people. Sometimes the word POC can be perceived that all people of color (Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, etc.) have the same exact experiences with injustice.
OK, but if I’m Black, can I just say I’m Black? Yes. It’s important to note that BIPOC is not a way of steering the focus off of the social movement fighting to stop police brutality and discrimination against Black men, women and children. BIPOC is a way of staying inclusive on bigger issues that hurt all non-white individuals.
Organizations like The BIPOC Project are striving to inform and create these spaces to learn more about this acronym. There will always be new words or phrases, but the important thing is to continue to move towards a more mindful and inclusive society and here’s a great way to start.