Minorities have been given many names throughout history. In most cases, they were insensitive or unapproved words that mocked our culture. But in recent years, with the many protests and social activism, minorities are given a more inclusive acronym: BIPOC.
What does BIPOC mean?
BIPOC [buy-pock] stands for “Black, Indigenous, [and] People of Color.” The acronym first appeared in 2013, and in 2020 “POC” and “BIPOC” became national terms. After the murder of George Floyd, people began advocating for civil and human rights for Black people in America. Eventually, this led to advocating for mental health and participating in protests.
There is a common misconception that BIPOC is synonymous with Black people or Black Americans.
That’s not the case.
Even though BIPOC became popular during the Black Lives Matter movement, the acronym is used to highlight various ethnicities, races, and nationalities. This is why people began promoting BIPOC-owned businesses to show solidarity. Now, people are starting to authentically honor BIPOC culture and minimize cultural appropriation.
How to Help BIPOC businesses:
Throughout history, minority groups have been ostracized in the workforce. So, most of them started to create their own jobs. And still, they face systemic, economic, and social injustices. However, everyone can play an important role in ending this cycle:
1. Include BIPOC businesses in your daily life.
Rather than traveling to your go-to coffee shop, look up a Hispanic-owned café and try their coffee. Or shop at an online boutique instead of at your regular stores. Moving outside of your comfort zone helps with learning about various cultures and traditions. There are also useful business directories that can easily find local BIPOC companies.
2. Write online reviews for small businesses.
Leaving online reviews is actually an adaptation of “word-of-mouth” marketing. Millions of people read and trust customer reviews. So, to give a small business credibility and preserve its online presence, be sure to leave a review of your experience.
3. Minimize shopping at big corporations during the holidays.
Historically, minority-owned businesses have taken a larger hit during the holiday season than during any other time of the year. Purchasing holiday gifts online and at nearby businesses are a great alternative to combat this.
4. Volunteer at organizations that focus on amplifying BIPOC-owned companies and advancing minorities in the workforce.
Support does not have to be financial. Nonprofits like BIPOC Support Foundation and Giving Compass invest in BIPOC-owned companies to help diminish the racial wealth gap. Some BIPOC organizations even create programs that help future entrepreneurs. They are also great websites to use to find local volunteer spaces.
5. Build a Relationship
One key thing to note is that supporting BIPOC businesses is not a trend. It’s not a New Year’s resolution or a good deed. Supporting BIPOC businesses also creates long-standing changes, like closing the racial wealth gap, strengthening local companies, and encouraging job creation.
Systemic racism can’t vanish overnight. Being an ally and supporting minorities is a partnership and a lifelong journey. It’s a way to acknowledge the various injustices occurring in our world today while amplifying our voices, values, and passions.
Blistey is a Black-owned directory and lifestyle brand that focuses on BIPOC businesses within our communities and the intersectionality of Blackness.