July 16, 2023

How to Pronounce BIPOC

People of color (POC) are at the center of a powerful movement for social change. Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and AAPI communities are fighting for everything from racial justice to the right to exist. Their struggles can feel isolating because they’re so unique — from the fact that Black women earn just 82 cents for every dollar paid to white men to high rates of coronavirus-related stress and discrimination in Asian communities.

As the movement for racial justice grows, so too does the language that’s used to discuss it. While we can all agree that racism is harmful, the term that’s most often used to describe it — POC — erases the identities of certain non-White groups and masks the harm they face from racism and other forms of oppression.

The acronym BIPOC is a much more specific way to address the intersectionality of racism and the ways in which it affects various communities. It centers the unique violence, cultural erasure, and discrimination that Black and Indigenous people experience within the U.S. system.

But just because it’s more specific doesn’t mean that BIPOC should replace terms like POC in all contexts. Weldon says that using BIPOC can mask the differences among the communities it encompasses if it’s not used correctly. She also warns that it can turn into a euphemism, which can amplify stereotypes against the groups it’s meant to uplift. Regardless of the terminology we choose, it’s important to make the effort to avoid racial injustice and to learn more about the history behind it. That’s why we’ve created this explainer to help you get started on your journey toward a more inclusive workplace.

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