The definition of People of Color is: All people except White people. Of course, White people are not actually white and have color. Those of us in the anti-racism movement want White people to know that they are not ethnicity-neutral. Calling everyone else “people of color” doesn’t help in this effort. It encourages White people to think that there are people (White people) and then there are beings “of color” who are other than just people. I was at an educational conference where a presenter was referring to people of color as “diverse people,” as in, “I made sure that I knew the name of my diverse student.” Not only is this an odd perversion of the meaning of diversity, but it reflects the general view among people in a majority, or people in power, that they are normal and that everyone else is a variant of normal.
But, every group of people has a right to define themselves and to choose their own moniker, and I am always quick to adapt to whatever people want to be called. Wanting to stay on the cutting edge of politically correct speech, I present my suggestions for other non-White, non-male, non-U.S. citizen, non-young, non-middle class and non-rich people:
- Women: People of Gender
- Old people: People of Age
- Outside the United States: People of Nationality
- English-Language-Learners: People of Language
- Disabled people: People of Abilities
- Gays & Lesbians: People of Sexual Orientation
- Non-Christians: People of Religion
- Poor people: People of Socio-Economics
I hope this list will help you, whether you are are in one of these groups and want to know what to call yourself to foster a sense of membership in your group, or you are not in these groups and want to know what to call people to keep them from being mad at you, show your hipness, and reaffirm your sense of being free of issues that affect the diverse people.
Click this flower for a satirical reverse-gender article showing how language “normalizes” maleness:
Or, go here: