Thursday, September 28, 2017

‘People of Color’ Isn’t a Great Phrase

I am a “person of color.” It’s a great term, because it’s a blanket way to separate people with the highest level of polarization. In India, apparently, racial classes are divided by shades of brown, lighter is better and darker, well, isn’t. In American we have the more simple, or perhaps sophisticated form of racism: anything that isn’t black is “white,” though certainly a generalization.

But race is no longer a matter of objective reality, now it’s the personality trait we weren’t supposed to be judged by. Anything that makes you different isn’t a characteristic, it’s a claim to victimhood and another raffle ticket in the Oppression Lottery. Non-white? Social disorder? Disease? Sexual orientation? Gender identity? These are all tokens that can be exchanged for social cash or in other words, social value.

There seems to be a pathological desire to define yourself by faults and what you’re not. I don’t see the merit in playing the victim card by these parameters. It’s too easy and manipulative, if anything it should be used to highlight your paradoxical opinions that don’t fit your cultural stereotype. Apparently, as a “POC,” I’ve got to feel a certain way and fit into a box, and support liberal values, the suppression of free speech, and political violence so long as “the other” can be defined in any light as my oppressors.

This is a paternalistic attitude, most often held by left-leaning liberal white Americans. Not every minority person or opinion needs to be “taught the way.” Sure, some “POCs” may be more vulnerable to exploitation, but this technicolor attribute may, as well, give me the perspective to understand, and immunity, and the ability not to be frightened or hysterical over racial tensions.

Without specific references, just by words or demeanor, I’m unmistakably American. Despite a few cultural leanings I’ve never felt anything but. Speaking of political correctness and offense, you can take all the stereotypes and name them, and there’s still nothing worse than a paternalistic attitude that denies your basic agency as a human and the ability to discern your own opinions regardless of your race.

I don’t know when “people of color” became the go-to phrase, or what the fault was with “minority,” or “immigrant,” or calling the person by their ethnic background. Is it a sincere attempt at political correctness, or an attempt among the already P.C. out-virtue each other? It basically is long-hand for “colored,” certainly a politically incorrect term. And it’s been shortened to three letters (“POC”), the least you can have for a word, like all the other short-hand terms for cultures we care so much about: wop, fob, dot, jap, etc.

But this is only a personal opinion, there’s not going to be any alarmist, click-bait title such as: “It’s Time to Stop Using People of Color,” or “Saying Person of Color Is Racist!” I do find it ludicrous and condescending. Whether you’re marginalizing things for “evil” or “good,” it becomes indistinguishable. All that’s left after that is fighting for scraps on how you generalize identities to create your own.

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