I’m gonna start this by saying that I hate the term person of color (poc). Look I understand why it exists, and there are definitely times when its useful. And honestly there really isn’t a better phrase currently for those times. Still I don’t like it.
First off lets look at its definition. If we do a quick google search, we get this:
a person who is not white or of European parentage.
So right from the start were taking a very diverse spectrum of people and turning them into a binary; white or not white; person or poc. One group (hint: the white one) gets to maintain their heritage. The other, we get to become one big amorphous blob made up of the majority of humans on the planet! YAY!
I totally get why it’s needed though. In a place like the U.S. where its white people stomping on everyone else to varying degrees in a wide variety of ways, its useful sometimes. They made it a binary and since they have the power we need to unite. By uniting together we become something exponentially more powerful than separate. Here’s a great article explaining the importance of the term woman of color.
The problem is a lot of the time I don’t see it used for that. Most of the time its used by someone so worried about being PC that they don’t want to say someone’s race. I’ve heard some people talking about Michael Brown and what a tragedy another poc was shot. What’s going on in Ferguson right now is a tragedy for the black community. The worst part is it’s one that happens all the time for them. When someone talks about this like its a poc problem they’re preventing the real problem and the real victims from being seen.
It also takes our culture away from us. I’m proud of my Asian heritage. Sometimes I want that part seen. I don’t want to be a part of a blob that hides who I am. I get that enough from the people who seem to think that all Asians are Chinese or Japanese.
The only time poc makes sense is when your talking about every race and ethnicity other than white and european. Any other time use what that person/group prefers to be called. So please stop using poc as your personal shield against being thought of as racist. Your appropriating a term that we created for when we need to unite for your own comfort, and silencing us in the process.
Some more thoughts on poc: