- jeriorlizorart ha dicho:People say the use of “PoC” is problematic but no one has ever said why
The term “PoC” isn’t completely problematic itself. It’s just used in really problematic ways.
It’s a catch-all solidarity term that denotes “people who aren’t white.” It’s a term used in solidarity because it’s supposed to be used when people who aren’t white share a common struggle due to whiteness.
It’s very important to know that “PoC” is a term that applies to a specific group of people (people who are not white in the USA) at a specific time in history (modern times, in this day). The racial dynamic of modern USA is the reason why the term was borne. This term would not have made as much sense in use even 100 years ago, and perhaps in 100 years it will not make sense to use it. Additionally, the racial stratification of the USA is such that the term “people of color” correctly describes those races that are oppressed by whiteness in the USA. This term may not be the best term to use in countries with even similar racial stratification, simply because the racial history is different and the racial plight of the respective racially oppressed people in that country need to be defined in different ways.
The term becomes problematic when people use “PoC” as a vague catch-all for a racial problem that happens to a specific group of people. For example, it isn’t “men of color” who are being funneled into the prison system nationwide—that is largely a problem for black and latino men. In general, different races of people face different racial problems that all need to be eliminated. Many people use “PoC,” however, as if all people of color face the same racial problems.
For example, when Kshama Sawant, an American woman of Indian descent, won a seat on Seattle, Washington’s City Council, many people praised her and celebrated her as making gains for “women of color” everywhere. However, Kshama’s struggle to win the seat likely doesn’t reflect the same struggle that a black, latino, or Asian woman of some other descent may face when trying to win a seat on Seattle’s City Council, especially with the model minority myth that permeates the white-controlled politics of Seattle. It isn’t fair to paint her win as a win for women of color everywhere. It also isn’t fair to other American women of Indian descent to water down the gains of their role models.
In the case of medievalpoc, PoC is used problematically because it generalizes the struggle of people who are not white in the USA by including people from almost a millennium ago when racial stratification as we know it (in the USA) did not even exist. It’s dangerous to apply the term like that because it creates a false narrative of the past—that there was whiteness and that people were divided by race—that can overwrite the real past and keeps people from exploring our history critically. Many people don’t know that the concept of race is only centuries old, which is a lot of time but barely a dent in the whole history of humanity. When we apply “PoC” to the past, people begin to see the past in terms of whiteness vs. PoC as it is in modern day USA, and that’s just not how the past was.
It’s important for us to know that it wasn’t always like this, that people of specific races were not always seen or treated as lesser than, that this white supremacist narrative isn’t right. Applying PoC to the past works against that argument.