An Opinion Piece by Emoefeoghene (Efe) Akpofure Imoyin-Omene
Before I start, it’s important to remember that I am talking about collectives and communities
and I am in no way trying to say that my experience is representative of every single
individual that shares the same social categories as me. Furthermore, this essay should not be used as an apparatus to make sweeping generalizations of already marginalized groups but should be seen as an opinion piece that could give you insight on experiences that differ from your own.
I do not like or vibe with the term ‘Person Of Colour’ because I believe its impact runs
antithetical to what I hope were valiant efforts to illuminate the truth of people’s experiences
and unify diverse groups based on a shared goal of creating a more equitable future. This is
not possible until we collectively confront the rampant Anti-Blackness and colourism in
Asian communities, which I’ve experienced, witnessed and invested my time in listening to
accounts about to know it’s a prevalent issue. This cannot happen until we address the
rampant colourism in every communities that leads to the phrase "Mejorar la raza", which in practice means to ‘improve the race’ by marrying and/or having children with lighter skinned people in hopes of creating an idealized race. This cannot happen until we have the uncomfortable and revelatory conversations about the Anti- Black American sentiment in African communities, which I’ve heard and regrettably been complicit in allowing to fester. Even Black Twitter, my favourite internet residence, has ‘Diaspora Wars’ on what feels like a bi-weekly basis. These entertaining, salacious and always revealing dragging sessions/informative lectures reveal the tension omnipresent in the African Diaspora.
While conversations about our differences and the ways in which those said differences impact our conceptual framework are extremely necessary, lack of care and rightful frustrations make sure that what had the godly potential of being fruitful healing times mutate into xenophobia more times than not. This has a less than desired result, only working to reify the same systems of oppressions we should break. We become double agents of White Supremacy! ‘Carrying the White Man’s water’ if you will. The term ‘POC’ does nothing to address the divisions created around our differences, falsely and naively assuming that everyone that falls under this unwinding umbrella term is on consensus about everything. I barely agree with my mum and dad (If you’re reading this I love you much and Migwo), how I am supposed to agree with millions, no, Billions of individuals?!
‘POC’ doesn’t unite our nuanced experiences. It smudges and blurs. ‘POC’ doesn’t make
things clearer. It erases the distinctive ways we show up in the world and, in turn, fails to facilitate the safe space for us to talk freely about those distinctions without being unfairly targeted and silenced with the label ‘divisive’. While I am technically a ‘POC’- my blackness compounded by my brown skin (Alexa, play ‘Brown Skin Girl by Queen Bey, Blue Ivy and WizKid) and visible and finally unabashed queerness- renders me unsafe in many allegedly ‘POC’ inclusive spaces. Before I am any socially constructed marker, I am Emoefeoghene Akpofure Imoyin-Omene. A friend (hopefully a good one.), a lover of great music and even more compelling artists, a borderline Chlöe X Halle sycophant (semi-joking), a writer and a thinker in perpetual progress. We don’t live in the world where those qualities are solely what I am judged on and I believe the usage of the term ‘POC’ will not get us any closer to that world.
About the Author:
My name is Emoefeoghene (Efe) Akpofure Imoyin-Omene but because we’re cool, you can call me Efe. I am a 19 year old British Nigerian writer, poet and two-timed published author. My first name means Children are Wealth from God.
My friends have names, I have a title and a built in responsibility to represent.
I am currently in my 1st year of University, studying English Literature and Creative Writing. My works explore themes of race, gender, culture, loss and slip from silly to serious in sleek precision. While being on every bestseller list is a big goal of mine, creating work that connects with everyone and resonates with my community is a dream I want to be awake for.
My newest release, Ese: The Misadventures of Moving Forward, is OUT NOW everywhere books are sold. https://linktr.ee/efeimoyinomene