TheGrio Daily

BIPOC: Black Intelligent Podcast of Color

Episode 115

“Everybody is a person of color, white is a color.” Michael Harriot explains why he doesn’t like the term “people of color.” It’s a phrase we hear often these days, likely meant to be politically correct but in reality, it’s centered around whiteness. 


[00:00:00] You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network. Black Culture Amplified. 

Michael Harriot [00:00:05] What’s up, y’all? I’m might be breathing a little harder because I almost got in a fight, man. I was like, just, you know, talking to the nice dude, right? And you know what he called me? Called? I don’t even know what it means, but he called me. Like, it just sounded racist. It sounded like a slur. He call me a BIPOC. Like I like Tupac, but what’s a BIPOC. I like. I don’t even know what it means. It sounds like. I don’t know. He was a soul. My sexuality or what kind of rap I like or. Maybe he wasn’t. Oh, man. I don’t understand what he was saying. I guess I got to welcome to theGrio Daily, the only podcast that will explain why I don’t want to be a person of color. Colored people. We don’t see that anymore now, except when you’re talking about NAACPT. But lately we’ve heard the term BIPOC Black indigenous people of color. You know, some people just showed it to people of color. They call themselves persons of color. I don’t know what it means. Everybody is a person of color, right? White people have white as a color. So white people are people of color. Black people are people of color. Everybody technically is a person of color. Except. Okay, I got to admit, ghost aren’t people of color if you’re invisible, you’re not a person of color. So aside from ghost, though, which are technically dead. But I don’t want to discriminate. I don’t want you calling me a ghostist or a life supremacist. So I’m not discriminating against ghosts, but they are the only thing that I know that are not people of color. 

Michael Harriot [00:02:00] But the reason I don’t like being called a people person of color is because, like, you know what my color is like. It’s one, you know, my skin on Black. And most people, 99.99% of people like being without color, that they are. Unless you got sunburn and you’re real red. But. I’m Black. You can see that I’m Black. You can say I’m Black. 

[00:02:23] I’m Black, ya’ll. And I’m Black. And I’m Blackity Black and I’m Black, ya’ll. 

Michael Harriot [00:02:27] You don’t have to include the indigenous person of color because indigenous people know that they’re not Black or green or purple. You always hear people say, like, I don’t care if you’re purple? When have you seen purple people? I’ve never like that. But anyway, the reason I don’t like being called a person of color or a BIPOC or being locked into that category is important. And it’s because the phrase person of color centers whiteness. Why? Like it? First of all, it’s what they’re saying is nonwhite people, non-European people of non-European descent. I that’s what they mean when they say Black indigenous person of color, right. Because like white people are indigenous to Europe. But what they’re doing is centering white Americans as the sun and everything else in the universe is something that revolves around whiteness. And I ain’t no white people planet. I’m a person, a human being who taught white people how to do things. My culture, my ancestors taught white people how to do math, taught how to use the stars, taught them science and literature. And then they took it back to Greece and Rome and taught other white people. But they all had to come to Africa and learn those things, right? So I ain’t a planet or a satellite in the universe of whiteness, I am a human being. 

Michael Harriot [00:04:03] And everything doesn’t revolve around white people. Why would you not all white people together? You saying that whiteness is real and everything else, the Black people, the indigenous people, the Muslims, Arabic people, Hispanic, everybody else is something else. And there’s something else you’re defining as not white. Like you just are not white. That’s what BIPOC means, right? It means everything but white people. Right. So here’s why that’s offensive, because Black is different from an indigenous person. I don’t have the same culture, heritage, ancestry, ethnicity. It’s a whole different thing. That you should acknowledge. Like, don’t be lumping me in with everybody except the white people. Well, I mean, with Black people, like, because you marginalize my identity by just lumping Indian with, like, old, just a not white thing. I the same thing with indigenous people. Same thing with Hispanic people. Right. Even the term Hispanic. I always rail against the idea of Hispanic thing because it really doesn’t mean anything. Right? Like the people who have Mexican ancestors. How are they different from the people who have Native American ancestors? Like, there’s just a whole river separating the two, or the Pueblo of Arizona and New Mexico, different from the pueblo that is in Mexico now. It’s just the same people just we just arbitrarily draw a line. And now they’re people of color. Right. 

[00:05:44] Like the white people were the people of color. Or I guess people have no color when they first got here, as a matter of fact, to the Pueblo. There’s a famous saying that they used to describe a man named Esteban who had arrived in America in the 1500s and before white people really sunk. And he traveled from. South Carolina to Texas all the way across to the. Almost near the West Coast and the Pueblo scene. The first white man we saw was a Black man. You were talking about Esteban Estafinito, depending on which book you read. But to him Esteban was a person of color, the same as the white people who invaded their land. It was all and other thing. Right. And. That is understandable. He had never seen anybody other than your own race or ethnicity at the time. But but we see different kinds and colors and shades and backgrounds of people all at a time. So how does all the Black and Hispanic and the Mexican and the South American and the the innuendoes, all of them, people of color together. 

Michael Harriot [00:07:04] I ain’t no person of color. I got a call. My color is Black. Right. And even if you don’t want to call me by my color. Call me a descendant of Africans of descended of people enslaved in America. A descendant of people. The Black people. Descendant of somebody like. I’m cool with Black now, but if you visit gives you the heebie jeebies, then just call me Michael. Right. Call me by my name, but not by pop. Not a person of color, because I’m not some amorphous thing. Then just as identified by what he is not right? I’m not some annoying ghost, but I ain’t white either. Because when you call me a people person of color, again, white people have a color. So you’re insulting me by calling me a white man or a green man or a purple man. I’m not from Mars. Although some people will contend that women are from Mars. Look, I am Black. A Black man. In a world that has white people, Black people, people from other countries, people of other religions, people like I don’t even know what people of color are, right. Or people who are white passing people of color. Or white people who are pretending to be Black like Chet Hanks when he goes into his accent. 

Chet Hanks [00:08:44] Big up the whole island, massive hits. It’s ya boy Chet. Coming straight from the Golden Globes. You know what I’m saying. 

Michael Harriot [00:08:51] Is he pretending to be a person of color? So to solve that problem, just call me Black. Just call people what they are. And don’t lump us in as not white. I ain’t white, but I am a thing. And that thing wants you to tell a friend about this podcast. That thing wants you to subscribe. That thing wants you to download theGrio app. And I also want to remind you that I always end this podcast with a saying you have to be Black. Saying is a Black indigenous person of color is. I’ll get back to you on that. We’ll see you next time on theGrio Daily. If you like what you heard, please give us a five star review. Download theGrio app, subscribe to the show and to share it with everyone you know. Please email all questions, suggestions and compliments to podcasts at theGrio dot com. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:10:10] I’m political scientist, author and professor Dr. Christina Greer, and I’m host of The Blackest Questions on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network. This person invented ranch dressing around 1950. Who are they? 

Marc Lamont Hill [00:10:23] I have no idea. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:10:24] This all began as an exclusive Black history trivia party at my home in Harlem with family and friends. And they got so popular it seemed only right to share the fun with our Grio listeners. Each week we invite a familiar face on the podcast to play. What was the name of the person who was an enslaved chief cook for George Washington and later ran away to freedom? In 1868, this university was the first in the country to open a medical school that welcomed medical students of all races, genders and social classes. What university was it? 

Roy Wood, Jr [00:10:58] This is why I like doing stuff with you, because I leave educated. I was not taught this in Alabama Public Schools. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:11:04] Question three. You ready? 

Eboni K. Williams [00:11:05] Yes. I want to redeem myself. 

Amanda Seales [00:11:07] How do we go from Kwanzaa to like these obscure. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:11:12] Diaspora, darling. 

Amanda Seales [00:11:13] It’s like the New York Times crossword from Monday to Saturday. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:11:17] Right or wrong, because all we care about is the journey and having some fun while we do it. 

Kalen Allen [00:11:22] I’m excited and also a little nervous. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:11:25] No need to be nervous. And as I tell all of my guests, this is an opportunity for us to educate ourselves because Black history is American history. So we’re going to have some fun. Listen, some people get zero out of five. Some get five out of five, but it doesn’t matter. We’re just going to be on a little intellectual journey together. 

Eboni K. Williams [00:11:41] Latoya Cantrell. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:11:43] That’s right. Mayor Latoya Cantrell. 

Michael Twitty [00:11:45] Hercules Posey. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:11:46] Hmm. Born in 1754 and he was a member of the Mount Vernon slave community, widely admired for his culinary skills. 

Kalen Allen [00:11:53] I’m going to guess AfroPunk. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:11:56] Close, close. AfroNation. 

Kalen Allen [00:12:00] I never heard of that. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:12:00] According to my research, and Samuel Wilson, a.k.a. Balkin. 

Jason Johnson [00:12:07] Wrong. Wrong. I am disputing this. 

Latosha Brown [00:12:10] Very, very very very 99.9999 sure that it is Representative John Lewis, who is also from the state of Alabama, that, you know, Christina, we got some goodness come out of Alabama. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:12:21] There is something in the water in Alabama. And you are absolutely correct. 

Diallo Riddle [00:12:24] The harder they come. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:12:27] Close. 

Diallo Riddle [00:12:28] Oh, wait, the harder they fall?

Dr. Christina Greer [00:12:29] That’s right. I’m one of those people that just changes one word. 

Roy Wood, Jr [00:12:34] I just don’t know nothing today. I’m just going to pour myself a little water while you tell me the answer. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:12:39] The answer is Seneca Village, which began in 1825 with the purchase of land by a trustee of the A.M.E. Zion Church. 

Roy Wood, Jr [00:12:45] You know why games like this make me nervous? I don’t know if I know enough Black. Do I know enough? How Black am I? Oh, my Lord. They they, we going to find out in public. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:12:54] So give us a follow. Subscribe and join us on the Blackest Questions.