The BIPOC Caucus is changing its name to IBPOC
What is the difference between BIPOC and IBPOC?
Nothing other than pronunciation and symbolism.
IBPOC pronounced “ib (rhymes with rib) pok” or “eye bee pok”; stands for Indigenous (people), Black (people), and People of Colour.
BIPOC pronounced “bye pok” stands for Black (people), Indigenous (people), and People of Colour.
Why change the name now?
Until now our UCV group had not bothered to investigate alternative names to BIPOC (which some of our members disliked) simply because there were so many other projects and issues to address. Now that an Indigenous community leader, Doreen Manuel, has asked that we change our name to IBPOC, and seeing that many large organizations (UBC, CBC, BCTF, BCNDP, Knowledge Network, Brock University) have already started to use this Canadian version, we have decided to follow suit.
Why change at all?
- Even though we disagree with listing groups based on Who Has Experienced the Most Racism (“trauma Olympics”), in light of the 215 Indigenous children found in unmarked graves at the Kamloops Residential School site, the acts of genocide inflicted on Indigenous people by church and state needs to be be recognized.
- In BC, Indigenous people have never ceded or treatied away their land; we are living on THEIR land. Just like a land acknowledgement, which is given before starting a meeting, putting Indigenous people first in the IBPOC name is a similar acknowledgement of their importance.
- We acknowledge the generational trauma caused by residential schools, the sixties scoop, laws against leaving reserves or hiring lawyers to fight back, villages and lands destroyed, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, lack of drinking water, and poor treatment within the medical and criminal justice systems as the most glaring examples.
- Changing our name is a small symbolic gesture but it is a start.
- The BIPOC acronym was created in the US. While we understand there is racism that is and has been experienced by Black Canadians, especially those connected with chattel slavery that was an order of magnitude larger in the U.S. (due primarily to the economics of cotton), we feel that we need to acknowledge the enormous damage that has been inflicted on Indigenous people in Canada.
- Changing the name is an indication that we are thoughtfully adapting ideas from other countries and provinces to our local context.
- And finally, we had to go to the effort to teach people what BIPOC meant. We can now teach them what IBPOC means. Education is key.
by Tamiko Suzuki
Would you like to join a working group to support IBPOC events and initiatives? The UCV IBPOC Caucus is a small group and welcomes white folx to join to support.