One of the perils of activism on social media is the dilution of terms. Terms that once hold power and significance gets passed around as slang and it becomes a meme or “pop culture”. People of color was once a term meant to be inclusive and suggests a sense of solidarity in the people it describes but more recently, this term has reached the same level of vagueness and non-committal as “diversity”.
I’ve attached an article from Medium that goes over this pretty well. When language shapes our perceptions of reality, it is vitally important that we use the right ones. Here’s an excerpt:
The public use of the term person of color (POC) seems to have become less about solidarity and instead about lessening negative connotations and implicit anti-Black reactions like fear, scorn, disdain, and apathy. In popular discourse, “POC” is often a shorthand for “This issue affects Black people most directly and disproportionately, but other non-White people are affected, too. So we need to include them for the majority to listen and understand we aren’t talking about a solely Black vs. White issue.”
Saying “POC” when we mean “Black people” concedes that there’s a need to describe a marginalized group as “less” Black for people to have empathy for an issue.