©2019 The Anti-Racist Educator.

Person of Colour

The umbrella term “person of colour” (POC) was first used in the USA, but it is increasingly used by activists in the UK. It essentially refers to anybody who is not white. Many believe it is more empowering than the term “non-white” and “minority” (in BME and BAME) because it does not revolve around whiteness.

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This term must not be confused with “coloured” – an out-dated word that many will find offensive today due to its historical use as a pejorative.

 

“Person of colour” can be used to refer to someone who is Black, Black Caribbean, Black British, African, African American, etc. Black people of colour (BPOC) can refer to a shared identity of blackness which comes with specific experiences of anti-black racism.

 

“Person of colour” can equally be used to refer to someone who is British Asian, South Asian (Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan…), East Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.) South-East Asian (Thai, Malaysian, Singaporean…), Latino, non-black Aboriginal, etc. Non-black people of colour (NBPOC) can evoke a shared experience, but also a possible complicity in anti-black racism. This is particularly relevant in groups of people who aspire to whiteness (and thus spread anti-black racism) due to a complex history of colonialism and racism.