The Emergence of “BIPOC”: Meaning and Explanation

If you keep up with current affairs and frequently use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms, you’ve probably heard the acronym “BIPOC” one or two times.

If you’re unsure what this phrase means or how to use it, keep reading for a detailed explanation. Contrary to popular belief, it does not refer to Bisexual People of Color.

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BIPOC: What does that mean?

BIPOC is a political label that Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color in the United States use to identify themselves and show solidarity.

Black, Indigenous, People of Color, or BIPOC, is a person-first language. It enables a departure from concepts like “minority” and “marginalized.”

The designation “BIPOC” was chosen to draw attention to particular injustices affecting black and indigenous people.

Let’s dive deeper into the terms that make BIPOC and understand them better

Here is a full explanation of what “BIPOC” means:

1. Black

A person of African or Caribbean descent is typically described as “black.”

The term “African American” is frequently used to refer to people of African descent in the United States, but this isn’t always accurate. Some Black people might not be Americans, and others might not have African ancestry.

Some people might prefer to identify as Kenyan American or Jamaican American, for example, since that is where their families originally came from.

2. Indigenous

A native of North America is referred to as “indigenous” in American usage. Indigenous is a general term that refers to all tribes of the continent’s original inhabitants.

Additional phrases might be:

  • Native Americans or American Indians,
  • Native Americans, and
  • Native Alaskans or people from Alaska.

The terms themselves remain general. In the United States alone, 574 identified Indian Nations exist. It’s always best to refer to just one or two people or a small group of people by their specific tribe names.

3. People of Color

People who aren’t white are referred to as “People of Color” in general. This phrase has drawn criticism for being too inclusive because it relates to a wide variety of individuals as one group of “others.”

Although this checklist is by no means complete, “People of Color” can include those who are:

  • African American or Black,
  • Eastern Asia,
  • South Asians who are Latinx, and
  • Hawaiians and people from other Pacific Islands.

Harmful cultural stereotypes and systemic racism pose several distinct challenges for People of Color, from the incarceration of Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II to the detention of children whose parents were trying to immigrate to the United States.

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There are a variety of reasons why businesses might decide to use “BIPOC.” Overall, the term captures the intersectionality that racism, discrimination, and systemic oppression all have at their core. The time “BIPOC” highlights the unique difficulties and systemic racism that Black and Indigenous people in particular, as well as other people of color, experience. Not all people of color experience the same injustices and levels of oppression.

Now that you know about BIPOC and the term related to discrimination let’s learn more about discrimination and mental health. To read more, click here.
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