Bodies and People

Why is it always “women of color” but never “men of color”? Stacey Abrams is always “a woman of color” but Barack Obama is always “a black man or an African-American man.”

Also, why is it always “black and brown bodies” and never “white bodies”? Instead, it’s invariably “white people.” It’s kind of demeaning to be one of the “bodies” when another group is “people.”

The “brown bodies” thing reminds me of when Klara tells me after a bath, “Mommy, please help me dry my body parts.”

8 thoughts on “Bodies and People”

  1. Sorry, I know this is a rhetorical question but I like answering rhetorical questions like they are serious. ๐Ÿ˜€

    This is because the purpose of ‘X of color’ is to highlight oppression. Obama is not suitable because he was powerful. I have seen men of color being used when the said men are of sufficiently oppressed status – e.g. migrants.

    The idea behind ‘black and brown’ bodies is that white people have rendered everyone else into mere ‘bodies’ not complete people. The term is meant as a reappropriation – not that we are mere bodies but we are using the term to highlight what white people have done to us. Kind of like the reappropriation of the n-word, but more metaphorical. White people are defacto oppressors so no one has reduced them to bodies thus they are still ‘people’.

    Klara probably has more sense about such things than these people. ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. I’m an immigrant, right? If somebody called me “a migrant body”, I’d be livid.

      It’s especially disturbing when white people refer to the non-whites as “bodies.” Of course, they are very well-intentioned but it’s still disturbing.


      1. But not an undocumented migrant, not someone looking for blue collar day labor, not someone living in a camp. Immigrant and migrant are not the same.


  2. Yes — I understand the reasons and the intention, but these terms often seem to replicate, not contest or “highlight” oppression.


  3. Here’s on easy question for you:

    Why is rather light-skinned Hispanic AOC referred to as a “person of color,” while George Zimmerman was routinely labelled a “white Hispanic” in the media?

    No cheating, you can’t look up the answer…


    1. I’m still very unsure what AOC’s color is supposed to be. If I know anything it’s Hispanic culture and I’m absolutely convinced that no actual Hispanic person would refer to themselves as anything “of color.” The expression doesn’t exist in Spanish. And the concept is utterly meaningless to anybody but a WASP or a WASP wannabe.


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