The term "person of color" (plural: people of color, persons of color; sometimes abbreviated POC) is used primarily in the United States to describe any person who is not white. The term encompasses all non-white people, emphasizing common experiences of systemic racism. The term may also be used with other collective categories of people such as "communities of color", "men of color" (MOC), and "women of color" (WOC). Person of color was originally equivalent in use to the term "colored", but usage of the appellation "colored" in the Southern United States gradually came to be restricted to "negroes".
The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style cites usage of "people of colour" as far back as 1796. It was initially used to refer to light-skinned people of mixed African and European heritage. French colonists used the term gens de couleur ("people of color") to refer to people of mixed African and European descent who were freed from slavery in the Americas. In South Carolina and other parts of the Deep South, this term was used to distinguish between slaves who were mostly "black" or "negro" and free people who were primarily "mulatto" or "mixed race". After the American Civil War, "colored" was used as a label exclusively for black Americans, but the term eventually fell out of favor by the mid-20th century.
Although American activist Martin Luther King Jr. used the term "citizens of color" in 1963, the phrase in its current meaning did not catch on until the late 1970s. In the late 20th century, the term "person of color" was introduced in the United States in order to counter the condescension implied by the terms "non-white" and "minority", and racial justice activists in the U.S., influenced by radical theorists such as Frantz Fanon, popularized it at this time. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was in wide circulation. Both anti-racist activists and academics sought to move the understanding of race beyond the black-white dichotomy then prevalent.
The phrase "women of color" was developed and introduced for wide use by a group of black women activists at the National Women's Conference in 1977. The phrase was used as a method of communicating solidarity between non-white women that was, according to Loretta Ross, not based on "biological destiny" but instead a political act of naming themselves.
According to Stephen Saris, in the United States there are two main racial divides. The first is the "black–white" divide, which he describes as "basically anti-black". The second racial divide is the one "between whites and everyone else" with whites being "narrowly construed" and everyone else being called "people of color". Because the term "people of color" includes vastly different people with only the common distinction of not being white, it draws attention to the fundamental role of racialization in the United States. Joseph Tuman argues that the term "people of color" is attractive because it unites disparate racial and ethnic groups into a larger collective in solidarity with one another.
Use of the term "person of color", especially in the United States, is often associated with the social justice movement. Style guides from the American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style, the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Mount Holyoke College all recommend the term "person of color" over other alternatives. Unlike "colored", which refers only to blacks and is often considered offensive, "person of color" and its variants refer inclusively to all non-European peoples—often with the notion that there is political solidarity among them—and "are virtually always considered terms of pride and respect"; others find the phrase offensive because it implies that neither whites nor Caucasians have any color.
Some critics, both whites and non-whites, of the term object to its lack of specificity and find the phrase racially offensive. It has been argued that term lessens the focus on individual issues facing different racial groups and that, as the only group excluded, is it inherently discriminatory towards white people.
For example, the person of color (POC) racial identity model describes racial identity development for people of color...
The term People of Color emerged in reaction to the terms "non-white" and "minority." … The term people of color attempts to counter the condescension implied in the other two."
Bronze race (Spanish: raza de bronce) is a term used since the early 20th century by Latin American writers of the indigenista and americanista schools to refer to the mestizo population that arose in the Americas with the arrival of Latin European (particularly Spanish) colonists and their intermingling with the New World's Amerindian peoples.
Mexican poet Amado Nervo wrote "La Raza de Bronce" ("The Bronze Race") as an elegiac poem in honor of former president Benito Juárez in 1902. Bolivian indigenista writer Alcides Arguedas used the term in his 1919 work, La Raza de Bronce, a study of the natives of the Andean altiplano. It was later used by Mexican luminary José Vasconcelos in La Raza Cósmica (1925).
The term was revived in the 1960s by Chicano ethnic group MEChA to refer to Latinos in the United States and the people in Mexico as a unified "race", similar to the black and white races. In this sense it is largely synonymous to the notion of the Chicano nation. The decision to call it a separate "race" may have been influenced by the contemporary negative views of "ethnic" or "nation" based nationalism and positive views of "race" based nationalism. The notion was first enunciated in the Plan Espiritual de Aztlan document.Brown (racial classification)
Brown or brown people is a racial and ethnic term. Like black people and white people, it is a metaphor for race based solely on human skin color. In racialist ideas, the color brown and the term brown people were used to describe a series of hypothesized racial groups that included North Africans, people from the Horn of Africa, West Asians, South Asians, Central Asians, Southeast Asians, Eskimos, Native Americans, and Latin Americans. In Brazil, brown is used to describe for Indo-Brazilian and Arab Brazilians.Colored
Colored is an ethnic descriptor historically used in the United States (predominantly during the Jim Crow era) and the United Kingdom. In the US, the term initially denoted non-"white" individuals generally. The meaning was essentially the same in the UK, with "coloured" thus equivalent to "people of colour". However, usage of the appellation "colored" in the American South gradually came to be restricted to "negroes". Following the Civil Rights Movement, "colored" and "negro" gave way to "black" and (in the US) "African American". According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word colored was first used in the 14th century, but with a meaning other than race or ethnicity.In other English-speaking countries, the term – often spelled coloured – has varied meanings. In South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the term coloured (often capitalized) refers both to a specific ethnic group of complex mixed origins, which is considered neither black nor white, and in other contexts (usually lower case) to people of mixed race. In British usage, the term refers to "a person who is wholly or partly of non-white descent" and its use may be regarded as antiquated or offensive, and other terms are preferable, particularly when referring to a single ethnicity.
In South Africa, the term coloureds is used to describe people of a mixed parentage. Thus South Africa has people broadly classified as four races, namely Blacks, Whites, Coloureds and Indians.Coloureds
Coloureds (Afrikaans: Kleurlinge) are a multiracial ethnic group native to Southern Africa who have ancestry from more than one of the various populations inhabiting the region, including Khoisan, Bantu, Afrikaner, English, Austronesian, East Asian or South Asian. Because of the combination of ethnicities, different families and individuals within a family may have a variety of different physical features.In the Western Cape, a distinctive Cape Coloured and affiliated Cape Malay culture developed. In other parts of Southern Africa, people classified as Coloured were usually the descendants of individuals from two distinct ethnicities. Genetic studies suggest the group has the highest levels of mixed ancestry in the world. Mitochondrial DNA studies have demonstrated that the maternal lines of the Coloured population are descended mostly from African Khoisan women. This ethnicity shows a gender-biased admixture. Male lines have been primarily African, Asian Indian, and Southeast Asian.
Coloureds are to be mostly found in the western part of South Africa. In Cape Town, they form 45.4% of the total population, according to the South African National Census of 2011.The apartheid-era Population Registration Act, 1950, and subsequent amendments, codified the Coloured identity, and defined its subgroups. Indian South Africans were initially classified under the act as a subgroup of Coloured.Every Single Word
Every Single Word (Spoken by a Person of Color) is a Tumblr blog and YouTube channel that features videos on all the lines spoken by people of color (POC) in both contemporary and classic films. Created by Dylan Marron, the videos are an attempt to highlight the lack of casting and involvement of POC in Hollywood produced films, in addition to highlighting his own experiences in attempting to be cast in films as a Venezuelan American.The reasons for such low amounts of casting of POC in films is stated by Marron to be about fear, because the "people who finance the movies are not going to want to throw millions behind a movie of a non-famous person of color". In addition, default casting for films, even for works or scripts with no specified races for the characters, is to choose white actors. The novel The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is noted by Marron as a work with no races given for the characters and one that has had worldwide success in its book form, but the main cast for the film were chosen by the producing studio to be entirely white. Manohla Dargis, writing for The New York Times, noted that Marron's videos show that even when POC are cast in films, they are often cast in stereotypical roles that function as tokenism for the casting quota. The Boston Globe compared Marron's videos with other statistics presented in the "2015 Hollywood Diversity Report", which showed that scriptwriters and directors are also rarely POC, along with lead roles in films.Several celebrities have praised and shared the blog with their fans, including Aziz Ansari, Junot Diaz, Kerry Washington, and Chirlane McCray. The blog was named by Tumblr as the most viral blog of 2015.Free people of color
In the context of the history of slavery in the Americas, free people of color (French: gens de couleur libres; Spanish: gente libre de color) were people of mixed African and European descent who were not enslaved. The term was especially used in the French colonies, including La Louisiane and settlements on Caribbean islands, such as Saint-Domingue (Haiti), Guadeloupe, and Martinique. Freed African slaves were included in the term affranchis, but historically they were considered as distinct from the free people of color. In these territories and major cities, particularly New Orleans, and those cities held by the Spanish, a substantial third class of primarily mixed-race, free people developed. These colonial societies classified mixed-race people in a variety of ways, generally related to visible features and to the proportion of African ancestry. Racial classifications were numerous in Latin America.
The term gens de couleur was commonly used in France's West Indian colonies prior to the abolition of slavery, where it was a short form of gens de couleur libres (French: [ʒɑ̃ də kulœʁ libʁ], "free people of color"). It referred specifically to free people of mixed-race, primarily European and African.In the Thirteen Colonies settled by the British, later to become the United States, the term free negro was often used to cover the same class of people – those who were legally free and visibly of ethnic African descent. Many were people of mixed race, freed because of relation to their master or other whites. By the eighteenth century, the Upper South included many slaves of mixed race.Fue Lee
Fue Lee (born 1991) is a Hmong American community organizer and activist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is the state Representative for House District 59A in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Elected in 2016, Lee is the first person of color and of Asian descent to represent that district in the Minnesota House. He is the fourth Hmong American elected to a state legislature.Lee was born in a refugee camp in Thailand to Hmong parents from Laos, and came to Minneapolis as a toddler in 1992. He is a graduate of Carleton College, and was an employee in the office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. He co-founded the Asian American Organizing Project and Progressive Hmong American Organizers with former state Senator Mee Moua, DFL activist Yee Chang, and community organizer Jay Xiong; and has previously worked under then-Representative Steve Simon, Representative John Lesch, and Congressman Keith Ellison.Community leaders encouraged Fue Lee to run into the primaries after losing the DFL convention endorsement during the first round of voting by a delegate. Many felt the local senate district DFL and current lawmaker was not representative of the people. According to Lee, "One of the reasons I decided to run for office is because candidates that were supposed to represent all of the city and its communities weren’t doing their job. I want to be able to respect my community by understanding the issues we’re facing on a daily basis."On August 9, 2016, Fue Lee unseated 20-year incumbent Joe Mullery who was backed by the DFL political establishment including state Senator Foung Hawj, Congressman Keith Ellison, and Governor Mark Dayton,.Lee won the primary election decisively, receiving 55.5% of the vote, to 44.5% for Mullery. His Republican opponent in the November 8, 2016 election was Jessica Newville. Lee was elected on November 8, 2016 receiving 81.3% of the vote.Harry Sidhu
Harry S. Sidhu (born July 8, 1957) is an American Republican politician and businessman who is the 46th and current mayor of Anaheim, California, winning the office in the 2018 election. He is the first Sikh mayor of the city and the first person of color to serve as mayor of Anaheim. He is a former member of the Anaheim City Council and the former Mayor pro tempore of Anaheim.
Sidhu earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University. He worked as a consulting engineer. Sidhu served as director of Orange County Water District Board. He became a U.S. citizen in 1979.Homer Plessy
Homer Adolph Plessy (March 17, 1862 – March 1, 1925) was a Louisiana French-speaking Creole plaintiff in the United States Supreme Court decision in Plessy v. Ferguson.
Arrested, tried and convicted in New Orleans of a violation of one of Louisiana's racial segregation laws, he appealed through Louisiana state courts to the U.S. Supreme Court and lost. The resulting "separate but equal" decision against him had wide consequences for civil rights in the United States. The decision legalized state-mandated segregation anywhere in the United States so long as the facilities provided for both blacks and whites were putatively "equal".
The son of French-speaking creoles (Haitian refugees who fled the revolution), Homer Plessy was born on St. Patrick's Day in 1862, at a time when federal troops under General Benjamin Franklin Butler were occupying Louisiana as a result of the American Civil War and Reconstruction, and had liberated African Americans in New Orleans who had been in bondage but Plessy was a free person of color and his family came to America free from Haiti and France. Blacks could then marry whomever they chose, sit in any streetcar seat and, briefly, attend integrated schools.As an adult, Plessy experienced the reversal of the gains achieved under the federal occupation, following the withdrawal of federal troops in 1877 on the orders of U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes.Due to Plessy's phenotype being white, Plessy could have ridden in a railroad car restricted to people classified as white. However, under the racial policies of the time, he was an "octoroon" having 1/8th African-American heritage, and therefore was considered black. Hoping to strike down segregation laws, the Citizens' Committee of New Orleans (Comité des Citoyens) recruited Plessy to deliberately violate Louisiana's 1890 separate-car law. To pose a clear test, the Citizens' Committee gave notice of Plessy's intent to the railroad, which opposed the law because it required adding more cars to its trains.On June 7, 1892, Plessy bought a first-class ticket on a train from New Orleans and sat in the car for white riders only. The Committee had hired a private detective with arrest powers to take Plessy off the train at Press and Royal streets, to ensure that he was charged with violating the state's separate-car law and not some other misdemeanor.Everything that the committee had organized occurred as planned, except for the decision of the Supreme Court in 1896.
By then the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court had gained a more segregationist tilt, and the committee knew it would likely lose. But it chose to press the cause anyway, [author Keith] Medley said. 'It was a matter of honor for them, that they fight this to the very end.'Kingdom of Haiti
The Northern Kingdom of Haiti (French: Royaume d'Haïti, Haitian Creole: Ini an Ayiti) was the state established by Henri Christophe on 28 March 1811 when he was self-proclaimed as King Henri I after having previously ruled as president. This was Haiti's second attempt at monarchical rule, as Jean-Jacques Dessalines had previously ruled over the Empire of Haiti. Following the assassination of Emperor Jacques, the country was split. Henri ruled over the north of the country as President of the State of Haiti and Alexandre Pétion, a free person of color, ruled as President of the Republic of Haiti in the south.
During his reign, Henry built six castles, eight palaces (including the Sans-Souci Palace) and the Citadelle Laferrière fortress, built to protect the Kingdom from possible French invasions. He created a noble class and appointed four princes, eight dukes, 22 counts, 37 barons and 14 chevaliers.
Following a stroke and with support for his rule waning, Henry I committed suicide on 8 October 1820. He was buried at the Citadelle Laferrière. His son and heir, the Jacques-Victor Henry, Prince Royal of Haiti, was assassinated 10 days later at the Sans-Souci Palace by revolutionaries.
The general Jean-Pierre Boyer was named the successor to Alexandre Pétion in the southern Republic of Haiti. He became President, reunited the two parts of the country and ruled until 1843.Malcolm Kenyatta
Malcolm Kenyatta (born July 30, 1990) is a community activist and African-American politician from North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who currently serves as a State Representative for the 181st District in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.Mulatto Haitians
Mulatto (French: mulâtre, Haitian Creole: milat) is a term in Haiti that is historically linked to Haitians who are born to one white parent and one black parent, or to two mulatto parents. Contemporary usage of the term in Haiti is also applied to the bourgeoisie, pertaining to high social and economic stature.
People of mulatto and white descent constitute a minority of 5 percent of the Haitian population.Oscar Martinez (The Office)
Oscar Martinez is a fictional character from the US mockumentary-style television series The Office played by Cuban-American actor Oscar Nunez. Martinez was one of the few openly gay characters in broadcast television at the time that the series aired. Nunez, who is straight, did not know his character might be gay when he first signed on. For the 2006–2007 season, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) reported he was the only LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) person of color character on a regular series. For the 2007–2008 season he was the "only remaining gay character on a half-hour comedy program" and the only LGBT lead or supporting character who is a person of color. For the 2009–2010 season, Martinez was one of four people of color LGBT regular series characters; in 2010–2011 there were six and in 2011–2012 there were five.Martinez is an accountant at the Scranton, Pennsylvania, office of the paper distribution company Dunder Mifflin and gets his first name from Núñez; series producer Greg Daniels felt that "Oscar" sounded like a good accountant's name. He is a first-generation Mexican American. He is also openly gay after being outed by his then boss Michael Scott in "Gay Witch Hunt", the third-season premiere episode devoted to the outing. However, the character was implied to be gay in the second-season episode "The Secret", when Dwight catches him faking sickness to spend the day with his boyfriend (Dwight remains oblivious to this detail as he was obsessed with proving that Oscar was not ill). As a result, in earlier episodes, many co-workers erroneously attribute to him various Mexican stereotypes (e.g. being involved in drug cartels) but after his outing, his stereotypes are more focused on his being gay, particularly by Michael, which may explain their conflicted relationship. Núñez explained in a 2008 interview that the character variously feels amusement, pity and hatred towards his fictional boss. He has no specific counterpart in the original British series.
Oscar is known for being a rational, quietly efficient, and intellectual worker in the office, often the one who will ask pointed financial questions that his colleagues will not or that Michael avoids answering. In some episodes he is described as the smartest in the office. Martinez refers to himself as being in the "Coalition for Reason" with Jim and Pam Halpert. According to Núñez, the three "are there to set up the comic situations" for boss Michael and Dwight Schrute, Michael's toady. He explained, "We can still be funny but we are definitely the 'straight guys'." He is often the one who is able to clearly see the reality and logic in situations, including financial ones such as when Michael started up his own paper company or Ryan Howard's online startup business. Because of this, Oscar is considered to be a know-it-all by many of his co-workers. Oscar is frequently exasperated by the antics of his coworkers and tends to find their humor offensive. He is reserved, not really exhibiting a desire for close contact with any of his co-workers, although he is friendly when not outwardly pedantic. In an AfterElton.com interview, Núñez explained he plays the character like an accountant, who happens to be gay, and just trying to do his work and not really interested in what the documentarians are filming. Actor Núñez references the character as a Log Cabin Republican, though no mention of this has occurred in the show. In the episode "Dwight Christmas", he is in fact openly acknowledged as a Democrat. His more balanced and normal personality makes him an everyman type character, contrasting with the generally extroverted people with whom he works. He's also a charter member of the company's three-person (and exclusive) "Finer Things Club" with Pam and Toby Flenderson. He and co-worker Kevin Malone seem to have a strong friendship with each other, often a dynamic where Oscar is often the calm, rational one while Kevin is the fun-loving one.Pardo
Pardo is a term used in the Portuguese and Spanish colonies in the Americas to refer to the multiracial descendants of Europeans, Indigenous Americans, Indian subcontinent, and West Africans. They are defined as neither exclusively mestizo (Indigenous American-European descent), nor mulatto (West African-European descent), nor zambo (West African-Indigenous American descent). It is highly associated with the history of slavery and colonialism. From the 18th century, the term has been used more widely to identify a brown skin colour. But in general use, the physical characteristics may include brown skin ranging from dark brown to almost white. Similarly, the person's hair could be curly, straight, or other texture, and any colour.In Brazil, the word pardo has had a general meaning, since the beginning of the colonization. In the famous letter by Pero Vaz de Caminha, for example, in which Brazil was first described by the Portuguese, the Indigenous Americans were called "pardo": "Pardo, naked, without clothing". The word has ever since been used to cover African/European mixes, Amerindian/European/South Asians/African mixes and Indigenous Americans themselves.For example, Diogo de Vasconcelos, a widely known historian from Minas Gerais, mentions the story of Andresa de Castilhos. According to 18th-century accounts, Andresa de Castilhos was described by the following: "I declare that Andresa de Castilhos, parda woman ... has been freed ... is a descendant of the native gentiles of the land ... I declare that Andresa de Castilhos is the daughter of a white man and a (Christian) neophyte (Indigenous) woman".The historian Maria Leônia Chaves de Resende says that the word pardo was used to classify people with partial or full Amerindian ancestry. A Manoel, natural son of Ana carijó, was baptised as 'pardo'; in Campanha several Indigenous Americans were classified as 'pardo'; the Amerindian João Ferreira, Joana Rodriges and Andreza Pedrosa, for example, were described as 'freed pardo'; a Damaso identifies as a 'freed pardo' of the 'native of the land'; etc. According to Chaves de Resende, the growth of the pardo population in Brazil includes the descendants of Amerindian and not only those of African descent: "the growth of the 'pardo' segment had not only to do with the descendants of Africans, but also with the descendants of the Amerindian, in particular the carijós and bastards, included in the condition of 'pardo'".The American historian Muriel Nazzari in 2001 noted that the "pardo" category has absorbed those persons of Amerindian descent in the records of São Paulo: "This paper seeks to demonstrate that, though many Indians and mestizos did migrate, those who remained in São Paulo came to be classified as pardos."Pardo Brazilians
In Brazil, Pardo (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈpaʁdu] or [ˈpaɾdu]) is an ethnic/skin color category used by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) in the Brazilian censuses. The term "pardo" is a complex one, more commonly used to refer to Brazilians of mixed ethnic ancestries. Pardo Brazilians represent a wide range of skin colours and backgrounds. They are typically a mixture of white Brazilian, Afro-Brazilian, Indo-Brazilian and Native Brazilian.The other categories are branco ("white"), preto ("black"), amarelo ("yellow", meaning East Asians), and indígena ("indigene" or "indigenous person", meaning Amerindians). The term was and is still popular in Brazil.
Pardo was also a casta classification used in Colonial Spanish America from the 16th to 19th centuries. The term pardo was used primarily in small areas of Spanish America whose economy was based on slavery during the Spanish colonization period.Sacatra
Sacatra was a term used in the French Colony of Saint-Domingue to describe one who was the descendant of one black and one griffe parent. The term is also used to describe one whose ancestry is 7⁄8ths black and 1⁄8th white. It was one of the many terms used in the colony's racial caste system to measure ones black blood.The etymology of sacatra is uncertain; Félix Rodríguez González linked it to the Spanish sacar ("take out") and atrás ("behind"); thus, a sacatra is a slave who is not kept in the house or at the front as a lighter-skinned servant might be.Tokenism
Tokenism is the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to be inclusive to members of minority groups, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of racial or sexual equality within a workforce. The effort of including a token employee to a workforce is usually intended to create the impression of social inclusiveness and diversity (racial, religious, sexual, etc.) in order to deflect accusations of discrimination. One additionally relevant term for tokenism is "hyper-tokenism". Hyper-tokenism is where a person of color has increased screen time, is involved in the plot and in promotional images, but the white characters are still the most significant characters by the end of the film. Another relevant term is "ambiguously brown". Ambiguously brown characters are characters that are white-passing, but not fully white so that whatever they are cast in is not completely whitewashed.Women of color
Women of color (singular: woman of color, sometimes abbreviated as WOC) is a phrase used to describe female persons of color. The political term "women of color" surfaced in the violence against women movement. In the late seventies it unified all women experiencing multiple layers of marginalization with race or ethnicity as a common issue.Zambo
Zambo (Spanish: [ˈθambo] or [ˈsambo]) and cafuzo (Portuguese: [kɐˈfuzu]) are racial terms used in the Casta caste class system of the Spanish and Portuguese empires and occasionally today to identify individuals in the Americas who are of mixed African and Amerindian ancestry (the analogous English term, sambo, is considered a slur). Historically, the racial cross between enslaved African and Amerindians was referred to as a zambayga, then zambo, then sambo. In the United States, the word sambo is thought to refer to the racial cross between an enslaved African and a white person.
The meaning of the term sambo however is contested in North America, where other etymologies have been proposed. The word most likely originated from one of the Romance languages, or Latin and its direct descendants. The feminine word is zamba (not to be confused with the Argentine Zamba folk dance, although there is some relationship in the concept).
Under the casta system of Spanish colonial America, the term originally applied to the children of one African and one Amerindian parent, or the children of two zambo parents. During this period, many other terms denoted individuals of African-Amerindian ancestry in ratios smaller or greater than the 50:50 of zambos: cambujo (zambo-Amerindian mixture) for example. Today, zambo refers to all people with significant amounts of both African and Amerindian ancestry, though it is frequently considered pejorative.