We gotta cut it out with the acronyms, yall. I know that sounds silly coming from me, but hear me out. or- read me out... whatever. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!!
Saying it without saying it is the new white.
When utilizing acronyms to refer to the LITERAL global majority of all people on earth, you are using the binary 'white or not' framework, centering whiteness without talking directly about it.
Using acronyms to describe the global majority is a small step up from whispering the word Black. White people are so uncomfortable when initially acknowledging Blackness because it has been indoctrinated as inherently negative. It seems to me that in their mind, it would be akin to pointing out a physical deformity. And I think that is also why some white people are so immediately triggered by my user name, but that's a whole different post...
For the record, Black people do not wish they were white. Being Black is not a negative experience. Being Black around white people is a negative experience.
Despite what you may have been taught, Black people also do not wake up, struggle, and go to sleep. We are people who are Black. We also happen to have been born in a country designed by, and for, a few narcissistic dudes with the audacity to enslave, brutalize, and violently mandate torture and family separation on the basis of moral authority, which was earned due to their recessive gene expression.
Black people have been trying for centuries to undoctrinate white people, and make them aware of this harmful and deleterious delusion of superiority, but thus far, the general response has come from a place of personal and systemic narcissistic injury.
Intention vs Impact
Any efforts to reduce overt venom in language, systemically, is insulting to people still currently being violently enslaved, brutalized and worse, often for simply displaying their humanity in front of the wrong person.
Focusing on your personal language is a bit self-important, but more than anything, a waste of energy. You can intellectualize behaviors and spend decades listening and learning just to perpetuate antiBlackness in your everyday decisions, interactions, and relationships. Using the perfect language or phrasing does nothing to reduce the amount of dead we will be if you interpret our presence as a threat.
It seems that white people are drawn to utilizing labels and categorization to decide the value of other people, no matter the issue. When labeling and identifying other people, the only outcome is an 'us vs them' dynamic. Blue or red. Left or Right. As long as it is us vs them, you are on one side of the same coin. You're antiBlackness will keep the system in place by either policing language a la "The Left", or policing behavior on "The Right".
Softer language has never been the tool that would end oppression. Rehumanization is. But it starts with you. Without decolonizing your values and practicing radical self acceptance, the terms you use don't really matter.
At the end of the day, the answer is pretty simple (spoiler alert: it usually is). Black people want to be acknowledged for who they are, not what they are, just like you. Don't group us with people who aren't us because we both aren't you.
In what circumstances do you use the term BIPOC?
- When / why are you discussing non-white people?
Talk about white people! Even better, talk about yourself. You are much more impactful when you speak from personal experience in a positive, curious and compassionate way.