People of Colour

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Dyab Abou Jaja:

“The term People of Colour (POC) is used within the minority Identity politics paradigm to define who we all are, as opposed to being white.

It is the racist American slavers and French colonists who coined this term in the 18th century. This is not a decolonial term, it is a colonial term. It flattens the rich cultural and religious identities of the people it labels into one racialised container.

To accept it is to accept being defined in function of the presumed white "Other". Already by accepting to be referred to in function of the other, one has established inferiority.

I am not a person of colour, and I am not saying this to reproduce the cliché of "I am only human". I am not only human.

My ethnic identity is a reality, and it means something. It is an active identity in function of myself and not a passive one in function of an "Other".

I choose to speak about ethnicity and not about colour or race. Ethnicity covers racialised features, as in colour and other visible physical differences.

But it also covers elements related to culture, religion, nationality, and language. It cannot be reduced to a physical feature, pigmentation, or any element used by a racist establishment to label me. It is above all my language, my culture, my faith or the lack of it, and my nationality, as I and my peers live and define them.

And while I do live in a reality in which I do belong to an ethnic minority, and because of that reality, I am discriminated against, ethnically, I do not believe this to be absolute.

Certainly not in the sense that it is related to the cultural essence of the parties involved. In Lebanon for instance, I belong to the ethnic majority, and there I am not discriminated against.

So to better understand the reality of discrimination, I do not look within my ethnicity or that of an "Other". Instead, I study the dynamics of majority/minority regardless of ethnicity.” (