When n*gg*r, or “the N-word” first appeared, it was used to describe black people. (The root word, “niger” is the Latin word for black.) There’s some debate about how derogatory it was intended at first, but it certainly ended that way before becoming a word not said.

But the connotations of the word now live on in words and acronyms like BIPOC, or “black, indigenous, and people of color.” Either word, on its face, simply describes one’s physical characteristics. They’re basically talking about skin color.

However, whereas “n*gg*r” speaks specifically about black people, BIPOC encompasses a wider demographic – anyone who isn’t white. In either case, the implications go far beyond skin color.

“N*gg*r” comes with it the assumptions that all black people are the same. When intended to be derogatory, it means that all black people have the same behaviors and the same thoughts. It means they’re replaceable by another. The word dismisses the individual characteristics of each black person and lumps them all together as interchangeable.

BIPOC expands on that by suggesting it’s not just black people who are all the same, but all people of color. Basically, if you are anything other than white, you all look alike, think alike, dress alike, enjoy the same things and behave the same way.

To the degree “n*gg*r” is lazy, BIPOC doubles down and just brazenly assumes all people of color have everything in common. If you’ve met one BIPOC, you’ve met them all. One represents the other, who represents the other.

This is reinforced by those in the BIPOC community who openly criticize any other members of the BIPOC community who says anything other than what the BIPOC community at large is saying. Like the black community, it’s not difficult to find people in the BIPOC community who determine when another member of the community has done or said something that is “too white.”

As always, when you group people by meaningless demographic physical characteristics, you’re simply engaged in lazy thinking that oversimplifies a group of people who’s only obvious commonality is their skin color. To classify a group of people as BIPOC may make one feel enlightened, but it’s really only expanding on the insult of the word “n*gg*r” and only serves to set back race relations just that much further.