Racial tensions in this country have never been higher and therefore discussion of those tensions are also at an all time high. One term you may have noticed in blogs, newspapers, or social media discussing police brutality or the presidential election is the abbreviation POC, which stands for people of color. It’s so common, writers rarely define it before using it.
My question: there has to be at least one idiot out there who thinks POC refers to Pirates of the Caribbean, right?
This person isn’t necessarily racist. Maybe they just legitimately don’t know what the term means. Maybe they’re a bleeding heart liberal who believes in white privilege and the idea that minorities face biases and disadvantages. Which makes it all the more confusing when some blogger wastes space and time to write about the disadvantages faced by…characters in a movie franchise based on an old Disneyworld ride? Imagine them expressing confusion in the comments: “Uh guys, don’t we as a society have more disenfranchised groups to worry about? I mean Jack Sparrow isn’t even a real person. He’s a role portrayed by Johnny Depp. I’m all for the discussion of voter ID laws, but I don’t think their intent is to keep Geoffrey Rush’s Captain Barbossa from casting his ballot.”
Or, conversely: what if there’s a racist out there who also doesn’t know the term, but LOVES the Pirates of the Caribbean movies? Maybe this guy is pumped the national discussion has finally turned to that oft-discriminated facet of society: blacksmiths-turned-pirates like Will Turner, played by heartthrob actor Orlando Bloom. This person too would no doubt sound off in the comments: “Finally, the privileged class of non-Pirates of the Caribbean can come together and just LISTEN. Listen to what these pirates have to say about their experience. Because we have no idea about the injustices they face on a daily basis. Due to our privilege, we CAN’T know. We can ask questions like: what is it like knowing your father is an undead zombie starfish man portrayed by Stellan Skaarsgard? If he has babies with another woman, will it be half human, half starfish? Will you accept your starfish half brother? How hard is your life knowing your father is being oppressed by a CGI octopus version of Bill Nighy? These are the types of questions we need to ask before our republic can heal.”
I’m not saying these people are out there on the right or the left. But if you get into a discussion about race and casually refer to POC, make sure you throw out a definition first. You don’t want to confuse anyone, because it’s a very easy mistake to make. Right?
Okay look, I’m going to be real with you people….the first time I saw the term POC, I literally thought, “What? Why are they talking about the Pirates of the Caribbean?”