22 votes

Potential issues with catch-all terms for all non-white races?

I was just thinking about this. It has no basis in evidence or anything, it just popped into my head. Could using terms like POC that are catch-alls for all non-white races cause a rift between white people and POC? I feel like it has the potential to create a kind of "us VS. them" mentality if it hasn't already. Because it's saying you have all the races in the world, and then you have white people. I don't really have an alternative or a solution. It was just an observation I made. Of course, me being white myself, maybe there's just something I'm not understanding. I think it could spark an interesting discussion because people are bound to have many different opinions on this subject.

33 comments

  1. [9]
    Algernon_Asimov (edited ) Link
    The phrase "people of colour" didn't create the "us versus them" mentality: that has been in place for centuries, possibly millennia. The word "barbarians" comes from the ancient Greeks mocking...

    The phrase "people of colour" didn't create the "us versus them" mentality: that has been in place for centuries, possibly millennia. The word "barbarians" comes from the ancient Greeks mocking the speech of foreigners who didn't speak like them: the word comes from making fun of the silly "bah-bah-bah" sounds those other people made. We humans have been doing "us versus them" forever. However, it's important to note that the separation into "us" and "them" usually came from the group in power, who, in our western history, were usually white Europeans.

    In that context, the phrase "people of colour" is like "LGBTI": it's an umbrella group for a variety of people who have been discriminated against and marginalised because they're different to the dominant demographic of white Europeans. "LGBTI" includes groups as disparate as homosexual giscender men and heterosexual transgender women who have nothing in common in their lives or experiences, except for their mutual discrimination by the dominant demographic. The acronym is a gathering place for all these different people to come together on the basis that they have a common experience of discrimination on the basis of sexuality and/or gender. It's the same for "people of colour": this phrase is a gathering place for a variety of different people to come together on the basis that they have a common experience of discrimination on the basis of their skin colour and/or place of origin and/or religion.

    If you don't want an "us versus them" mentality, all you have to do is remove the discrimination against these people, so that they have no reason to create an umbrella group for victims of racial discrimination. Until then, they'll gather together under the banner of "people of colour" to share their experiences, empathise with each other's misery, and fight for their common goal of equality.

    EDIT: Typos and phrasing.

    34 votes
    1. [2]
      Thunder-ten-tronckh Link Parent
      Removing discrimination doesn't remove the history of discrimination though. Policies like redlining have contributed to a wealth gap that will continue to exist for generations upon...

      If you don't want an "us versus them" mentality, all you have to do is remove the discrimination against these people, so that they have no reason to create an umbrella group for victims of racial discrimination.

      Removing discrimination doesn't remove the history of discrimination though. Policies like redlining have contributed to a wealth gap that will continue to exist for generations upon generations—perpetually justifying the umbrella group you've described.

      In this way, I think OP has a valid point that it can create a uniquely modern rift in society, because there will always be historical reasons to validate this mindset, and I suspect it could become more problematic as racist attitudes continue to subside and racist policies are revised. At some point, "us vs. them" will become an objectively outdated way of looking at the issue, but could theoretically remain mainstream due to the abundance of citable source material.

      (I should mention that I agree with everything you wrote about the justification for the term, it's just that I don't believe it addresses OP's concern)

      4 votes
      1. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
        That's a good point. However, I expect that, as the underlying issues which brought about the need for a phrase like "people of colour" are addressed, the need for the phrase will reduce. We still...

        That's a good point. However, I expect that, as the underlying issues which brought about the need for a phrase like "people of colour" are addressed, the need for the phrase will reduce. We still have the words for "peasant" and "serf", for example, but since the end of feudalism, we don't have as much reason to use them any more. ;)

        1 vote
    2. [6]
      PopeRigby (edited ) Link Parent
      It did not created that mentality, but as I've mentioned before, I feel like it isn't helping. It's driving the wedge deeper. Umbrella terms are weird and usually aren't needed. I think it's...

      The phrase "people of colour" didn't create the "us versus them" mentality: that has been in place for centuries, possibly millennia

      It did not created that mentality, but as I've mentioned before, I feel like it isn't helping. It's driving the wedge deeper. Umbrella terms are weird and usually aren't needed. I think it's usually good to adjust your speech depending on the person, otherwise you just get this big weird blob of a word that encompasses to many people too make sense anymore, and makes it impersonal and cold.

      2 votes
      1. [5]
        Algernon_Asimov (edited ) Link Parent
        You seem to have missed my point (or deliberately avoided addressing it). There is a group of people who share the same experience of being discriminated against because of their skin colour...

        You seem to have missed my point (or deliberately avoided addressing it).

        There is a group of people who share the same experience of being discriminated against because of their skin colour and/or place of origin and/or religion. While they might all have different skins and origins and religions, they share that one common attribute: they are discriminated against by the dominant demographic of the culture they live in.

        We humans create names and labels for everything, and we create names for groups of things that already have names. For example, we have names for bullfinches and parrot finches and silverbills. However, collectively, we call them all finches. Alongside the finches, we have albatrosses and eagles and sparrows. Collectively, we call them all birds. Alongside the birds, we have reptiles and mammals and fish. Collectively, we call them all vertebrates. Alongside the vertebrates, we have the invertebrates (such as insects and molluscs). Collectively, we call them animals. And so on. At each level, we humans create a new collective term for things which share some characteristics, even if they don't share all characteristics. A finch is pretty different from a cow, but we still call them both animals because they share important characteristics, such as breathing oxygen, and having a spine, which other things, like plants, do not share.

        In that context, the people who share the characteristic of being discriminated against by the dominant "white" demographic want a way to describe themselves that isn't as cumbersome as "African-Americans plus Africans plus Chinese plus Mexicans plus Japanese plus Indians plus Native Americans plus... etc". What word or phrase would you suggest? "Victims of racism"? "Oppressed people"? "The underclass"? "Non-white"? "Discriminatees"? They've chosen "people of colour". What's wrong with that?

        Do you also disagree with the umbrella term "LGBTI"? It does the same thing: it drives the wedge between the dominant cisgender/heterosexual demographic and all the other groups. Should we remove that term as well?

        Maybe what we need is an initialism for people of colour, similar to what we have for non-cis non-het people. Because, like you, I also dislike big weird blobs of words that encompass too many people to make sense any more, making them impersonal and cold. So maybe we should individualise it, like "LGBTI" is more individualised than something like "queer". Would you be okay with an initialism for non-white people, just like there's an initialism for non-cis non-het people? What about "AACMJIN..."? Would that be more acceptable? It's not a big weird blob of a word: each non-white demographic is represented individually by its own letter.

        EDIT: Typos and phrasing.

        11 votes
        1. [5]
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          1. [4]
            Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
            But you're not engaging when other people give their thoughts. This is a one-way discussion. Got it.

            But you're not engaging when other people give their thoughts. This is a one-way discussion. Got it.

            11 votes
            1. [4]
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              1. [2]
                Atvelonis Link Parent
                I don't think @Algernon_Asimov is being aggressive here per se. Perhaps that last remark was a little snarky, but not without reason. He wrote a lengthy and thoughtful reply to your comment to...

                I don't think @Algernon_Asimov is being aggressive here per se. Perhaps that last remark was a little snarky, but not without reason. He wrote a lengthy and thoughtful reply to your comment to clear up what he meant originally, and your response was a one-line refutation of a specific note of his, which was not even the focus of his comment to begin with. This distracts somewhat from the purpose of the discussion; to understand each other's perspectives more fully, even if that means poking them a bit.

                10 votes
                1. [2]
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                  1. Pilgrim (edited ) Link Parent
                    I must admit I've had similar reactions to some of @Algernon_Asimov's responses to my own queries. However, I've found that usually what I'm reacting to isn't external aggression but my own...

                    I must admit I've had similar reactions to some of @Algernon_Asimov's responses to my own queries. However, I've found that usually what I'm reacting to isn't external aggression but my own insecurity at being wrong - and not wrong in a little sense, but often wrong in a profound sense.

                    Asimov is one of the few people I've encountered - probably anywhere - whose depth of knowledge matches his breadth of knowledge. It doesn't always feel good to have someone lay out an argument or world view that is as solid as oak with what appears to be so much ease. That can feel belittling to someone like myself who is often struggling to put the thoughts I have into clear, concise language, but it is ultimately - I think - unintentional.

                    At the end of the day, I'm a big fan of Asimov as he almost always raises the bar with our discussions. So just my .02 for what it's worth.

                    5 votes
              2. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                Disagreement does not equate to aggression. Asking questions does not equate to aggression. Asking questions is an invitation for you to engage in conversation, and to explain your thoughts...

                Disagreement does not equate to aggression. Asking questions does not equate to aggression. Asking questions is an invitation for you to engage in conversation, and to explain your thoughts further, so that I (and other people) can better understand them.

                And, if you don't want people disagreeing with your thoughts, don't post them in a public forum.

                8 votes
  2. [12]
    Sahasrahla Link
    I don't like the term "people of color" either. For one thing it's a grammatical isomer of "colored people" which obviously isn't great. It also raises the question of, what exactly is "color"?...

    I don't like the term "people of color" either. For one thing it's a grammatical isomer of "colored people" which obviously isn't great. It also raises the question of, what exactly is "color"? What is this quality that everyone on Earth has except for certain populations from Europe? It makes it sound like white people are either some aberration lacking in something normal people have, or that they're some default human that can be modified by the addition of color; again, not great. So personally I prefer to just say "non-white" as the most neutral way to refer to everyone who isn't white.

    The argument against this, as I've read it, is that the term "non-white" puts too much emphasis on whiteness. It defines people by the lack of their whiteness rather than by some positive characteristic. So, by that logic it's better to say "people of color" because it says what people are rather than what they aren't. I understand that, but at the same time, it comes back to the uncomfortable question of what "color" is. As positive a spin as we try to put on it, it still feels like an idea that belongs back in the 19th century.

    To your original question about if language drives a wedge between us—well, maybe. It's describing rifts that are unfortunately already there but I think it can work the other way too. Even just to talk about these issues we implicitly affirm in the very language we use that people are in different categories based on our (culturally arbitrary) concept of race. In an ideal world I'd like it if race could become far less important in how we define ourselves and see each other. I don't know how we get there but it will probably take a fundamental change in how we talk about and think about race.

    8 votes
    1. [10]
      NaraVara Link Parent
      All the issues you have with the term PoC are actually issues you have with the concept of “Whiteness.” Whiteness isn’t a race. It’s specifically drawing a boundary around who gets to be “in” and...

      All the issues you have with the term PoC are actually issues you have with the concept of “Whiteness.”

      Whiteness isn’t a race. It’s specifically drawing a boundary around who gets to be “in” and who is “out” of being considered a “normal” person. Under the previous construct of colonialism, these were considered subaltern cultures.

      So it’s not like the word PoC is creating these issues or drawing these lines. These exist implicitly in society, they’re just so deeply embedded in how people think about stuff that you will notice it about as well as a fish notices water. What using the term, PoC, does is draws attention to this division.

      Both you and the OP have successfully registered it, but you’ve drawn the arrow of causation backwards. The solution isn’t to tell people of color to try to remove their “coloredness,” they never chose to have their identities and cultures collapsed into a generalized category in the first place. This was imposed on them specifically to delineate them as a barbarian “other.” What you should actually do to address the problem is to encourage white people to shed their commitment to whiteness and embrace actual cultural backgrounds instead of merely exclusionary and racially essentialist ones.

      It goes back to how people complain about how they can’t have a “White History month” or a “White pride rally.” It’s because White isn’t a culture, Whiteness is exclusively a way to categorize in-group from out-group and that’s not anything to take pride in. Nobody complains about Irish or Italian or New Englander pride, because those are actual cultures. You can even have generalized American pride and people will get into that. And if those groups weren’t considered White, they’d have been PoC too. In fact, with Irish and Italians, they weren’t considered “White” until relatively recently in history which really clarified the nature of Whiteness as a construct of exclusion.

      The lesson is that the world has a whole spectrum of people out there, but it’s the concept of Whiteness that collapses the people in it into a featureless category called “White.” The term “People of Color” just points out what you get to be when you’re not having your cultures compressed into a single stream. You separate it out and you get a rainbow, which is much more interesting.

      7 votes
      1. [7]
        cadadr Link Parent
        The GP comment is not really talking about causation. More about the implication of the term, in their opinion.

        The GP comment is not really talking about causation. More about the implication of the term, in their opinion.

        5 votes
        1. [5]
          Sahasrahla Link Parent
          Yeah, thanks. This is a difficult issue to talk about in part because it's so easy to be misconstrued and people may think any amount of disagreement with their views implies you disagree with so...

          Yeah, thanks. This is a difficult issue to talk about in part because it's so easy to be misconstrued and people may think any amount of disagreement with their views implies you disagree with so much more. To @NaraVara, I think we're mostly on the same page. Though, I'd go a bit further and say that the concept of whiteness has changed for a lot of people from an in/out group indicator to a sort of shameful imposed identity they want to shed because of its historical and cultural baggage.

          Whiteness is associated with some of the worst things humanity has done and continues to do, and those who explicitly embrace that identity are often monsters. This, I think, leads to a guilt complex and low-key identity crisis for many people. In fact it's what companies like Ancestry.com have based their business model on and it's related to what you said about how white people should "embrace [their] actual cultural backgrounds." Many white people don't know or have any connection with their "actual" (though that term has a bit to unpack about it) background so they pay Ancestry to look at their DNA and genealogical records. They learn they're 25% Scottish or whatever and suddenly they have an identity separate from whiteness that they can embrace even if they previously had no connection to that culture.

          6 votes
          1. [3]
            botanrice (edited ) Link Parent
            I really like your reply. I'm not afraid to admit that I personally identify with what you've said, be it 'right' or 'wrong' (if that is even a thing here). I have never used Ancestry.com or...

            I really like your reply. I'm not afraid to admit that I personally identify with what you've said, be it 'right' or 'wrong' (if that is even a thing here). I have never used Ancestry.com or anything like that but I have brought up the conversation of "What's my culture?" a few times. I struggle with it, especially since I have no ties to my ancestry or any religion, nor did I ever really feel a lot of pride in my hometown growing up and I've moved around a lot since then. I can relate to certain geographic regions but I don't feel as though I belong to any of the perceived cultural traits of people from my region.

            What's interesting here is that you speak of this from a third person view, but to me, this is a very real issue in my life. I've never considered it an 'identity crisis' type situation as I'm not losing my mind over it and don't think about that frequently anymore, but in a light sense of the phrase I have struggled with my identity and where I fit in amongst society due to it. I'm wondering @Sahasrahla if you have any opinions on that topic that you would say to someone who is as you described?

            4 votes
            1. [2]
              Sahasrahla Link Parent
              I don't particularly have any answers here, at least none that I could develop and lay out in a Tildes comment in a reasonable amount of time, but I could talk a little about my experiences with...

              I don't particularly have any answers here, at least none that I could develop and lay out in a Tildes comment in a reasonable amount of time, but I could talk a little about my experiences with my own identity and maybe that would serve as an answer. You're right that I gave my view in the third person—it was a natural choice, but also a conscious one when I noticed what I was doing and decided to go with it.

              I'm a white, male, anglophone (important in a Canadian context) North American but that's not necessarily something I identify with. In some ways I view those identities as imposed. There are preconceptions, expectations, and baggage that come with all of them. That's true for just about anyone on Earth but it's worth pointing out that we're all "other" to someone else and I think the culture I live in has moved beyond the point where there's a clear and dominant us-and-them (though that could be a function of where I've lived).

              Personally, perhaps like you were, I never felt much of a connection with "my" culture growing up. I remember in high school I had read a Chinese classic (Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and yes I got into it because of the Koei video games) and was blithely going on about it in the way teenagers do and one of my friends snapped at me and said something like "live in your own culture!" I was a bit taken aback because, what was my culture? I didn't listen to the same music as her, I didn't see many of the same movies, I didn't know the celebrities she mentioned, and I didn't even watch hockey. Yet, her culture was apparently my culture? Why?

              After high school I went to a large university in a large city and, mostly do to the demographics of the city and the program I was in, fell into a social group that was mostly immigrants or children of immigrants. Technically I would also count among the latter group, since neither of my parents were born in this country, but I have family roots here anyway so saying I'm the son of immigrants feels like a technical truth that's a lie in spirit. In any case I felt more like I belonged with this new friend group more than I had in my old hometown around people I grew up with. It wasn't that I felt I had secretly been a member of another culture, but it was more that 1. this was a group of people who were also a bit outside of whatever cultures they might "belong" to, and 2. no one really had an implicit expectation for how I would act or think because we weren't explicitly part of the same culture. Things like race, gender, nationality, etc. were neither too important nor were they completely ignored. We were something between or perhaps both multicultural and culturally agnostic. By being a bit of an outsider I felt like I had more room to be myself and to fit in.

              I suppose, in a way, that's how I see my own culture and identity. I pick and choose what I want from what I have "claim" to by geography or birth or nationality, but I also see myself as having a bit of other cultures in me as well that I've been a part of through friendships or relationships. In a way that fits as well with the contradictions inherent in my national identity: to be an Anglo-Canadian is to be a cultural American who defines themself by the ways in which they are not American, and it is an identity that augments rather than replaces any identity you had before becoming Canadian to the point where your own culture is added to the broader Canadian identity.

              This way I view my own culture and the experiences I've had are part of the reason why I don't feel like I fully agree with how issues of race, culture, etc. are handled by any of the dominant groups in online political discourse. I almost fully reject how things are handled on the right and alt-right, and while I agree with much of what is said by the left on this topic and I think that it's an ideology that often does good, I believe it still enforces division too rigidly and judges based on identity too strongly. Whatever ideas we need to adopt in our culture to move past bigotry do not yet fully exist in any ideology that I've found.

              Back to your original point though, about struggle with identity and where you fit in. I'd say, pick and choose what resonates with you out of any culture you feel some connection with (which does not have to be based on accident of birth) and surround yourself with a diverse and accepting group of friends who aren't too keen to force people into prejudged boxes. This is an approach that's more do-it-yourself than ready-made, and it's one that might upset people of varying political affiliation who believe in division, but it's an approach that I think you might find something worthwhile in.

              5 votes
              1. botanrice Link Parent
                Hey, I'm sorry I never responded to your very thoughtful and involved response - I've read it several times over and I appreciate you taking your time to talk about it. I feel as though I've...

                Hey, I'm sorry I never responded to your very thoughtful and involved response - I've read it several times over and I appreciate you taking your time to talk about it. I feel as though I've gained something from this and will take your story and use it in my own way. It's interesting what you said towards the end there - as that is what I've done in the past year or so and I've started to feel much more confident and comfortable in whatever the idea of my "culture" is and certainly less about defining myself in a box. Some time I'm going to respond to you a bit more carefully but too much time has passed with me forgetting to respond that it must seem like I've blown it off. I appreciate you replying.

                2 votes
          2. NaraVara Link Parent
            Yeah “actual” was a vague word I only picked because I was too lazy to come up with something better. I don’t think geneology is really the way to go in that respect, since culture is a thing you...

            Yeah “actual” was a vague word I only picked because I was too lazy to come up with something better. I don’t think geneology is really the way to go in that respect, since culture is a thing you practice/participate in rather than a thing written into you.

            I also don’t know if the prime motivator behind it is White guilt so much as just trying to find an angle to make oneself more interesting specifically because racial identity without any culture behind it can be hollow and void of meaning.

            3 votes
        2. [2]
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          1. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
            Your title was in the form of a question, which invited people to respond with their own thoughts. Posting your thoughts in a public forum was an implicit invitation for people to engage with your...

            Your title was in the form of a question, which invited people to respond with their own thoughts. Posting your thoughts in a public forum was an implicit invitation for people to engage with your thoughts - whether to agree or disagree.

            4 votes
      2. [2]
        PopeRigby Link Parent
        That's a good way to think about. Maybe the word "white" is the problem. Now that I think about it, white isn't really a race. It's too broad. Italians, are considered white, but also the English....

        That's a good way to think about. Maybe the word "white" is the problem. Now that I think about it, white isn't really a race. It's too broad. Italians, are considered white, but also the English. Italians have a very different skin color than the English.

        1. Gyrfalcon Link Parent
          And not so long ago, groups of people we would lump together as white today were discriminating against one another on the basis of race. Italian and Irish immigrants to the U.S. were...

          And not so long ago, groups of people we would lump together as white today were discriminating against one another on the basis of race. Italian and Irish immigrants to the U.S. were discriminated against for many years (though part of that was Catholicism versus Protestantism, a whole different kettle of fish). And at the time it was much more overt, including the classic "No Irish Need Apply" help wanted signs.

          3 votes
    2. PopeRigby (edited ) Link Parent
      Yes. I feel like using terms like POC aren't doing people any favors. It isn't the root of the problem, but it isn't making it any better. It's driving a wedge between us. Instead of seeing...

      To your original question about if language drives a wedge between us—well, maybe. It's describing rifts that are unfortunately already there but I think it can work the other way too.

      Yes. I feel like using terms like POC aren't doing people any favors. It isn't the root of the problem, but it isn't making it any better. It's driving a wedge between us. Instead of seeing everyone as human, there are white people, and then everyone else. It just seems so backwards and weird.

      1 vote
  3. inafakebritishaccent Link
    I'm half white, and basically have found I get to claim I am whatever I say I am. POC strikes me as a little absurd, and I'll probably never use it. It's a rebranded "nonwhite," and it's not...

    I'm half white, and basically have found I get to claim I am whatever I say I am. POC strikes me as a little absurd, and I'll probably never use it. It's a rebranded "nonwhite," and it's not really a utility descriptor like "I'm Latino, but I did not get hit with sandals a lot." or "My Asian grandparents came over from China specifically around 1950". I always welcome more words into the vocabulary, but this one forces me to ask "why did I choose this term? What am I communicating?"

    I'm not really big on encamping myself. It brings me no joy. Plus I'm a walking example that the POC logic starts to break down once people start breeding.

    7 votes
  4. [2]
    alyaza Link
    if you applied it where the concept of 'whiteness' doesn't exist, then absolutely. but in most places where 'white' is a valid racial descriptor (it is pretty much uniquely western and doesn't...

    Could using terms like POC that are catch-alls for all non-white races cause a rift between white people and POC? I feel like it has the potential to create a kind of "us VS. them" mentality if it hasn't already.

    if you applied it where the concept of 'whiteness' doesn't exist, then absolutely. but in most places where 'white' is a valid racial descriptor (it is pretty much uniquely western and doesn't exist in most of the world as we westerners understand it) the answer is no (or at least, no more than is already the case) for the simple reason that there already was an us-versus-them mentality which exists around the concept of being white, because to be white was to be superior and to not be was to be inferior. there's a case to be made that the very existence of 'white' as a racial category created a mentality like that, and that to label all non-whites as people of color without consideration (which honestly is a very american thing, as far as i'm aware) to their actual racial status is just the logical outcome of how that mentality has worked its way into things like politics.

    5 votes
    1. PopeRigby Link Parent
      Yeah. That's kind of what I'm saying. It seems weird to lump all non-whites into this one big "people of color" group. It seems like POC is being used as like...a race of its own, maybe.

      Yeah. That's kind of what I'm saying. It seems weird to lump all non-whites into this one big "people of color" group. It seems like POC is being used as like...a race of its own, maybe.

  5. eladnarra Link
    I use "POC" in conversations where it makes sense to group many people together. (Such as discussions about racism in general.) I don't think it separates or divides people; it seems to currently...

    I use "POC" in conversations where it makes sense to group many people together. (Such as discussions about racism in general.) I don't think it separates or divides people; it seems to currently be a helpful term when discussing issues that affect people who aren't white.

    That said, I'm white, so in the end I don't think my opinion on it matters that much. The terms that people are comfortable using for themselves and having others apply to them evolve over time, both on the individual level and the societal level. I use POC because it's the phrase I often see being used by folks when talking about themselves in these sorts of general discussions. And if that changes, I'll change too.

    --

    An aside: I've heard people express frustration at how "proper" vocab changes over time, whether it's for LGBT folks, POC, disabled people, etc. I don't have a lot of patience for their annoyance at having to learn a new word. I don't know much about how language changes, but I very much doubt it's to intentionally trick some white dude into making a mistake.

    For example, the swing back to identity first language ("disabled person") instead of person first language ('person with a disability") in many disability communities wasn't based on a whim. Some people prefer IFP because their disability is part of who they are (like some autistic folks). Others think that by insisting we put the "person first," we further stigmatize disability, as if abled people need reminding that disabled people are... people. These reasons (and I'm sure there are others) developed from people's relationships with their identities. And so when a group's vocab changes, it makes sense that the rest of us should follow suit (while also deferring to individual preferences when appropriate or possible).

    3 votes
  6. knocklessmonster Link
    "People of color" leaves a bad taste in my mouth because it's too close to the mid-20th century's labelling of non-whites as "coloreds" (maybe just black people, but that was a rough time, with...

    "People of color" leaves a bad taste in my mouth because it's too close to the mid-20th century's labelling of non-whites as "coloreds" (maybe just black people, but that was a rough time, with the black, asian, and chicano-rights movements).

    I'm most comfortable with "minority/ies" because it at least speaks to a statistically-proven demographics (whites are the majority of votes in the US), but that's probably going to change. It also doesn't reflect population, at least where I live, because it seems to be that whites aren't the majority demographic where I live.

    I'm not really comfortable with any of these terms, to be honest, but figure if "people of color" is the accepted term, I'll use it until it changes.

    3 votes
  7. Neverland (edited ) Link
    I don’t like POC much at all, but I also don’t hear it very often. I played with a similar thought experiment with the word “white.” It seems like a catch all for the “us” in “us vs them.” When...

    I don’t like POC much at all, but I also don’t hear it very often.

    I played with a similar thought experiment with the word “white.” It seems like a catch all for the “us” in “us vs them.” When you think about it, the word white gets murky and kinda racist-y in my mind. Who exactly is “white?” I think German, English, Scandinavian, French, etc are like the white baseline? Then what about other countries as you move farther south through Europe? Even just typing that feels pretty slimy.

    In my ideal America we would stop saying “white” and replace it with “European-American.”

    edit: phrasing

    2 votes
  8. cwagner Link
    While I was reading this thread, "colored" happened to come up in a twitch chat I moderate. I had two other moderators from the US tell me that People of Color, or colored, is seen as racist in...

    While I was reading this thread, "colored" happened to come up in a twitch chat I moderate. I had two other moderators from the US tell me that People of Color, or colored, is seen as racist in their area, and, like the N-word, something that should only be used by those being described by it.

    To make matters more confusing, in South Africa during Apartheid "colored" specifically excluded blacks.

    2 votes
  9. [2]
    chas (edited ) Link
    By chance, I just came across the term "racialized people". I think that succinctly expresses that racial categories are in the eye of the beholder.

    By chance, I just came across the term "racialized people". I think that succinctly expresses that racial categories are in the eye of the beholder.

    2 votes
    1. PopeRigby Link Parent
      Interesting. I've never heard someone say "racialized people" before.

      Interesting. I've never heard someone say "racialized people" before.

  10. [4]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [3]
      Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
      This Wikipedia article about the phrase will give you a good overview: It's a phrase that was originally used, centuries ago, by the white majority to identify the black minority in the USA. The...

      This Wikipedia article about the phrase will give you a good overview:

      • It's a phrase that was originally used, centuries ago, by the white majority to identify the black minority in the USA.

      • The phrase was revived by black civil rights activists in the 1960s.

      • Its meaning was extended to include other people of colour (sorry) in the 1980s/'90s.

      • It's used by people of colour (and their allies) to describe themselves.

      1 vote
      1. [3]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. [2]
          Algernon_Asimov (edited ) Link Parent
          It was originally invented by white people to describe black people, back in the 1700s. However, in the 1960s, the black people "reclaimed" it to describe themselves. It has since been expanded by...

          Was it invented by someone to describe themselves, or to describe other people?

          It was originally invented by white people to describe black people, back in the 1700s. However, in the 1960s, the black people "reclaimed" it to describe themselves. It has since been expanded by the non-white people themselves to include other non-white people.

          Did it start in North America?

          Yes.


          I'm not sure how much clearer this could be. Do you have any other particular questions, that might guide me/us in explaining this to you?

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            Comment deleted by author
            Link Parent
            1. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
              That's a totally different question! :) The “why” is twofold: It's not as cumbersome as "African-Americans plus Africans plus Chinese plus Mexicans plus Japanese plus Indians plus Native Americans...

              That's a totally different question! :)

              The “why” is twofold:

              • It's not as cumbersome as "African-Americans plus Africans plus Chinese plus Mexicans plus Japanese plus Indians plus Native Americans plus... etc".

              • It's respectful to use a term for people that the people themselves have chosen.

              You don't have to use it, but it's nice if you do.

              2 votes