The “People of Color Trap”: How Racism Operates Among Non-White Groups | WBEZ
Skip to main content


The “People of Color Trap”: How Racism Operates Among Non-White Groups

Progressive protesters, from Charlottesville to Chicago, have fought to reject the structural privileges of White identity -- especially when such privileges oppress others. This White identity is generally defined in contrast to a “black and brown identity”. Another common term to describe marginalized people is “people of color,” suggesting all non-White people have a homogeneously uniform experience of oppression. A growing group of activists and scholars is pushing back on the term. They argue that using the term “People of Color” to reflexively describe the struggles of all non-White people erases the unique experiences of some marginalized groups instead of others. Recently, University of Chicago sociologist Eve Ewing tweeted that journalists will often talk about how, “children of color are disproportionately suspended from schools. But the data suggest that only Black and native Americans are disproportionately affected, not other racial or ethnic groups like Latinos, Asians, or Arabs”. Ewing argued that the term “people of color” is often a euphemistic tool to avoid authentic or uncomfortable discussions on Black issues, and that the term co-opts Black suffering onto other racial groups. At a time when U.S. leadership openly promotes racial tensions, we’ll discuss how anti-Blackness resonates among non-White people.

We also asked for listener calls on our hotline. We’ll play a few responses.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.