Why I don't use the term "BIPOC"

For me, it does the opposite of what grouping terms for social justice should achieve, which is unity.

This lawyer says it all with much more detail and eloquence. There is also this shorter article that has a lot of similar points but isn’t as thorough.

But basically…

  • It creates a hierarchy, “oppression Olympics”, among communities of color.
  • It is more symbolic and “virtue signalling” than actually driving any sort of meaningful change. Adding “B” and “I” to discussions where data is still missing for Indigenous folks disingenuously centers them without actually acknowledging the problem of the missing data.
  • It is not appropriate to always center Black and Indigenous folks over other people of color in many specific racial inequities, e.g., hate crimes during COVID-19 (AAPIs, especially Asian Americans), mass incarceration (Black men), anti-immigration injustices (largely Asian and Latinx folks, in addition to Africans), land rights (Indigenous people).
  • We already specify groups as much as we can where we should (Indigenous < Patawatame, Latinx < Venezuelan, Pacific Islander < Native Hawaiian, etc.) for highlighting specific struggles.
  • We unify all marginalized folks on equal ground (via “people of color”) for strength in numbers and acknowledgment in shared experiences.
  • And, my own gripe not in the linked essay: It is a confusing and awkward acronym; often paired with phrases like “BIPOC communities” or “BIPOC service workers” which are inclusively and grammatically worded better as “communities of color” or “service workers of color”; and still sometimes confused with “bisexual people of color” or biracial people of color”.