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WRIGHT: 'BIPOC' acronym does nothing to address issues faced by Black community

Column: The Black Light

The term "BIPOC" (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) became popularized amid anti-racism movements over the summer, but the acronym erases the differences between various communities. – Photo by Pixabay.com

"BIPOC" is one of the newer buzzwords that your favorite “allies” have been bashing Black people over the head with for the past year. After the year Black people have had, why is it that a new term to avoid calling us “Black” is birthed again?

What does this term mean, you may ask? Well it simply stands for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (not to be confused with “Biopic”). Just before the murder of George Floyd, if you were a Black woman or man the world certainly could care less about your existence.

After months of demonstrations, multiple Black bodies slain and as rallies and marches flooded the TV airwaves, the “fad” of being an activist was more evident for non-Black people around the world. To start, around the beginning of Summer 2020, the new buzzword of "BIPOC" had gained some traction.

The term seems to coincide with the death of George Floyd and started to take rise after that moment. Now if these tastemakers, creators, influencers or whatever their positions are really were “allies” they would have known that the term “POC" is not a term that Black people resonate with to start, so to throw an extra (and unnecessary) “B” and “I” onto it does not make anything more “inclusive."

In fact, it takes away from the Black community and other communities, by once again bunching us all together not realizing that we are all different human beings, not just some trendy acronym.

"BIPOC" is not the first of this trend to classify a group of people without acknowledging their actual preference. The use of the term “minority,” and the few variations that come with it, is the original “inclusivity” term that is a lot more disrespectful than intended.

In 2006 on Dave Chappelle’s sketch comedy show, "Chappelle’s Show," he tackled the term “minorities” and its use when politicians and news anchors refer to Black people. The origins of the term “BIPOC” are skewed as to who created the term and when exactly it was used, but as a hunch of mine I would assume it was another term created by a white person to avoid calling us “Black."

The reason I believe that “BIPOC” was created by a white man or woman is due to the fact that white people have been the engineers for the English language for centuries upon centuries in the U.S. They have allowed for language to be actors in how we judge one another, thus providing power to these sounds and syllables that come out of our mouths.

This term “BIPOC” is not one that was voted on by the Black Caucus, as something we would like to be referred to as. I am going to go out on a limb to say Indigenous peoples did not agree to this word either.

These words and phrases being created for us are not building a bridge between these demographics, it is driving an unneeded precedent that these two demographics do not have a say in what we are referred to as, which eventually devalues the worth of a single group.

So for any of the “forward-thinkers” or “progressives” that do not know what to call their “BIPOC” friend or peer or whatever, just ask, because 9 times out of 10, I would think they would rather be called a Black or Indigenous person rather than grouping the two together.

Amir Wright is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in journalism and media studies and minoring in Africana studies. His column, "The Black Light," runs on alternate Fridays.


*Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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