If you’ve been on the internet the last few years, you’ve likely seen the term BIPOC being used. This newer term quickly rose to popularity online, leaving many people wondering what it means? The topic is complex and much more than just understanding an acronym.
What Does BIPOC Stand for?
BIPOC stands for Black Indigenous People of Color to start with the basics. The term is used to separate Black and indigenous people from the umbrella term POC. POC means people of color and can be used to reference anyone who is not white.
This distinction aims to acknowledge that Black and Indigenous individuals experience different forms and levels of racism than other people of color.
Where Did the Term BIPOC Come from?
The term’s exact origins are unclear, but the use of the phrase online became more popular in May of 2020. This was a time when racial tensions were high after the murder of multiple black Americans at the hands of the police. The cases of black citizens being terrorized by police and other citizens in their communities gained the nation’s attention in 2012 after the death of Trayvon Martin. Since then, the number of deaths has only continued to rise.
Having a shared term to identify as part of the Black or Indigenous communities helped show that these experiences of racism in America are a collective experience by specific groups of people and that not all POC deal with the same type of racism in their daily lives. The BIPOC Project is an organization working to spread information surrounding BIPOC. Their mission is to encourage solidarity in the Black and Indigenous communities.
Controversial Conversations Surrounding the Term
Not all POC agree that the term BIPOC is beneficial. Some people think this new term is taking a step backward. Placing certain people into large groups closely resembles the time when people were identified as white or colored.
Identifying as a proud black or indigenous American was a big moment in history, so going back to generalized terms can be viewed as harmful. As long as America has existed, there has been disagreement over how different groups of people should be categorized. Placing too much weight on that categorization using the term BIPOC limits people’s ability to be seen as individuals. Instead, they’re seen as just another member of that community.
Contact Us Today
The opinion of the term BIPOC is not universal in these communities. Still, it is optimistic that each person can decide how they’d like to identify with their race and ethnic background. If you’re a part of the BIPOC community and are seeking guidance with your mental health, don’t hesitate to contact Unitas Healthcare Systems today at (617) 401-7441.