Why We Use the Term BIPOC

“It is important to acknowledge that no one term is going to be embraced by every member of a community. While many people are widely using the term ‘BIPOC,’ others dislike it, and what people want to be called is very much a matter of personal preference. This difference plays into whether to use ‘Black’ or ‘African-American,’ too.”

  • YMCA Article entitled “WHY WE USE BIPOC”

What exactly is BIPOC?

It’s a question we have been asked before. Allow us to explain. At Ignite Arts & STEM, we use the term BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) to acknowledge the unique challenges faced by Black and Indigenous communities within the broader category of people of color. Systemic racism continues to disproportionately impact Black and Indigenous people in education, career opportunities, and representation. These groups have historically experienced systemic oppression  which continues to impact their representation in Arts & STEM careers.

“It’s a term used to encompass groups that are not white and, as a result, often are harmed by white supremacy.

The term BIPOC is used as a way to reclaim oppressive labels given to racially marginalized groups. Historically, terms like “colored people” were used to exclude and abuse people who weren’t white and reduced them to objects. In an effort to reclaim identities without the lens of white supremacy, the term ‘people of color’ arose. BIPOC is an updated version of this term.”

  • Web MD Article entitled ” What to Know About the Term BIPOC”

BIPOC as a tool for change

We use the term BIPOC to raise awareness of these inequities and advocate for increased access to resources and mentorship specifically for Black and Indigenous students pursuing careers in Arts & STEM. This term becomes a stepping stone for further conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion within these fields. We strive to dismantle barriers and empower all BIPOC students to achieve their full potential.

How We Use the term BIPOC

We use the term BIPOC to target our efforts in specific ways:

  • Empowering BIPOC Students: Our programs and mentorship opportunities guide and support BIPOC students as they navigate their academic and professional journeys.
  • Showcasing Diverse Talent: We actively seek participation from BIPOC creators and businesses in our events, providing platforms for their talent and innovation.
  • Increasing Representation: Ultimately, we strive to increase BIPOC student success and representation within Arts & STEM professions.

We use the term BIPOC, but specificity matters

BIPOC should not replace naming specific racial or ethnic groups. When referring to a specific issue or individuals, clarity is key. For example:

  • Limited access to early STEM education programs disproportionately impacts Black and Latinx students, creating a pipeline problem.
  • We strive to improve the academic careers of our scholars, and believe that our programs will impact the world by increasing the number of BIPOC students in Arts & STEM

Ultimately, language is a powerful tool, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. At Ignite Arts & STEM are committed to taking action and creating a more equitable future for all students in Arts & STEM fields.

“BIPOC is an acronym that stands for ‘Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.’ It’s a more specific alternative to terms like ‘marginalized’ or ‘minority.'”

  • Healthline Article entitled “BIPOC: What It Means and Why It Matters”