The word BIPOC is an acronym for “Black, Indigenous and People Of Color.”
It used to describe all racially oppressed groups in one word, by anti-racism activists.
In several western countries, such as the United States, Great Britain or France, black, indigenous, and other people of color are not treated equal to white people, and are often pushed aside into segregated communities.
“BIPOC” activists aim to tear down systematic racism and white privilege in developed countries, by giving “BIPOC” people a voice.
The movement has already achieved some visible progress, such as the increased representation of minorities in the media, like the movie industry, as well as music, however, “BIPOC” people still start from a disadvantaged position, compared to their Caucasian peers.
The origins of the acronym “BIPOC” can be traced back to its predecessor, “POC” or “Person Of Color.”
This expression has been around in the English language for centuries, with the earliest written usage dating back to 1796. “Person of Color” was used to distinguish between mixed race and fully black people. Following the American Civil War, its meaning shifted, being used for black men only, however this fell out of favor by the mid-1900s.
There have been attempts at reforming the expression to something more empowering, like “Citizen of Color”, coined by Martin Luther King Jr, but this didn’t stick.
“Women of Color” became a widely used expression in the 1970s and after, eventually leading to the creation of “BIPOC” in the early 2010s.
“BIPOC” began appearing on the internet and in a wider context in 2013.
The 2010s saw the rise of activism, to oppose the oppression of black people, and minority groups in general, as well as increasing cohesion in segregated communities.
This manifested in an increased participation in empowerment movements by black public figures, such as Kendrick Lamar, eventually culminating in protests against police brutality and injustice against “BIPOC” people.
All this activity helped propagate the acronym both online and offline, with “BIPOC” appearing in countless posts on Twitter, Tumblr and other social media sites, as well as news broadcasts and interviews.
By 2020, The New York Times classified “BIPOC” as a ubiquitous term, due to its frequent appearance on Twitter and Instagram.
It is well-liked by minority communities, due to its inclusivity of native peoples, as well as Hispanics and mixed race citizens.
- The BIPOC Project – Official Website