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The BIPOC Complex

I hate the BIPOC acronym but what I really hate is what it does to all the people it’s supposed to include under it’s big ass umbrella.

The BIPOC Complex is what I call it when a person who is not White causes harm and uses the same script as White people but throws in BIPOC. These actions create a dynamic that forces fake solidarity and dismisses appropriation or other harm caused under the umbrella. It begs for a connection or intimate relationship that very little of us have outside the fact that we are not White and that we experience the effects of White Supremacy culture. It screams “we’re all in this together” when history has shown us time and time again that we are not.

In my piece Lin-Manuel Miranda Needs To Learn the Word No, I broke down how I believe this shows up in Lin-Manuel Miranda and his work. Because of this weird ass binary very little people who are not White are held accountable for appropriating other culture’s and ultimately supporting anti-Blackness. We’ve seen with Nora Lum aka Awkwafina, that even when they are approached with their harm it is likely that they’ll succumb to “the BIPOC complex”, double down and feed us line after line of the chorus:

We’re all in this together Once we know, that we are We’re all stars And we see that We’re all in this together And it shows, when we stand Hand in hand Make our dreams come true
Aziz Ansari's character Tom in Parks and Rec is also an example of unaccounted appropriation.
Aziz Ansari's character Tom in Parks and Rec is also an example of unaccounted appropriation.

The BIPOC complex has also allowed a lot of people who would racially be categorized as White to center themselves in a lot of conversations because of what they participate in culturally. It continues to keep us in these roundabout conversations on what racism really is and who is actually racist instead of much needed conversations on how harmful beliefs and harmful behaviors can present themselves in anyone. It prevents us from talking about specific harm like anti-Blackness, misogynoir, texturism, colorism, featurism and more.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Needs To Learn the Word No by K Mataōtama Strohl (They/Them)
Lin-Manuel Miranda Needs To Learn the Word No by K Mataōtama Strohl (They/Them)

I wish I could stop writing pieces like this but for now I’m honored to shed this light. Please stop trying to High School Musical your way to liberation and let go of every binary you can.

Thank you for reading through! I try to write here weekly but I write on my Ko-Fi page daily. For more stories like this and insightful conversations, join one of the membership tiers. Learn more about me and my work at the link below.


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