From the Left



‘Wokespeak’ is Changing Faster Than I Can Keep Up

Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

I remember when we were “colored.”

As in the NAACP, originally the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Then we became “Negroes,” as in “A group of Negroes was arrested today as they tried to register to vote in Mississippi.”

Then in the 1960s we became “Black,” as in “Black Power” and “Say it loud! I’m Black and I’m proud.”

Two decades later, Black leaders told news media that we would prefer to be called “African American” because as the Rev. Jesse Jackson said, it has more “cultural integrity.”

Then, as the diversity of racial and ethnic newsmakers and issues increased, the ancient label “people of color,” which dates back at least to the 1790s, regained popular usage.


And I marveled. I had lived long enough to see us go from “colored people” to “people of color.” Progress!

But, alas, the renaming game does not end there. Last summer’s protests and “racial reckoning” for social justice have given rise to a new vocabulary of racial, ethnic and gender awareness and activism.

Unfortunately, it often is happening at a faster pace than that with which cultural slow pokes like me can comfortably keep up. As one who still is trying, I sympathize with my fellow stragglers.

For example, among the latest additions to fashionable neologisms is “BIPOC,” an acronym for people who are Black, Indigenous or other people of color.


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Scott Stantis Ed Wexler Jeff Danziger Joel Pett Bob Englehart Gary Markstein