As we have seen, the left is in a linguistic crisis as the evidence builds that actual Hispanics in the real world hate the faculty room term “Latinx,” and you can sense that the left is trying to figure out how to abandon the term with a minimum of embarrassment.
But wait—there’s more! BIPOC—the term of art that has been around for a while but which really took off with the George Floyd protests—is suddenly in trouble, too. BIPOC stands for “Black, Indigenous People of Color,” but from the beginning there have been problems with this acronym . . . for some reason. Vox wrote about this a year ago:
“I think it’s an earnest attempt to be inclusive,” says Adrienne Dixson, a professor of critical race theory at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “There is this attempt to be inclusive of the histories of oppression, and there’s a desire to not create a hierarchy or to stratify.” But, she adds, the political solidarity created by a term like “BIPOC” can also come with a loss of nuance. “People want to be named and recognized, not as part of an amalgam,” she says. . .
Rosa argues that when well-meaning white progressives adopt terms like “BIPOC” indiscriminately, they end up erasing such differences. They can also end up projecting US-centric ideas of race into racial conversations in other countries, where groups are constructed differently. “What I’m worried about with BIPOC is that US nationalist logics are informing some of the ways that a label like that gets taken up,” he says. “Which then amalgamates all the millions and millions of people who fit into that person of color category. And then we end up not being able to understand all the unique relationships among these populations.”
The whole article gets even more absurd if you want to click through the link. Up in Canada the Toronto Star‘s “race and gender columnist” (no, I am not making this up) is now recommending ending the use of BIPOC:
However, as with POC or person of colour, BIPOC got swallowed up, quickly lost nuance and got spat out at a racial identifier to say “not white.”
Colonized lands that grapple with human rights face a perpetual puzzle: What to name “the other” without saying “the other?” It has led to a long-standing tension on this continent, a tension between a racial identity and a political one, a tension between the labels white people want to apply versus how people identify themselves. . .
Words matter, and they are tricky. They swim in the sociological waters around them, meaning one thing at one point in time and something else the next. Those sociological realities have now claimed the term BIPOC like they do other racial designations that are rooted not just in history but also prejudice. . .
It’s true that some people are simply anxious to keep up with the terminology to signal support for anti-racism, but when they do so without paying attention to the nuance of those terms, and flatten our identities and conflate the unique struggles of different groups, they replicate the problem the terminology is trying to eradicate.
I am done. Bye, bye BIPOC.
It seems to me that progressives ought to be the most physically fit people in America since they spend so much time on their linguistic treadmill.
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