Before I’d heard of the acronym BIPOC — which stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color — I felt fully represented under the term POC. But it wasn’t until my mom broke down our heritage that BIPOC gained a new meaning for me.
When I mentioned the acronym to my mom, she brought up a time where she was instructed to introduce her heritage to others, so she mentioned that she was of Indigenous ancestry. In that moment, an uncomfortable feeling tightened my throat.
“Why’d you claim to be Indigenous?” I demanded.
“The Mixtecs are Indigenous to Oaxaca, Mexico.” She responded.
I was blown away. I was so used to hearing Indigenous being used in reference to Native Americans and not in an international context or related to my own ancestry.
Although my mom continues to educate me on our Mixtec culture, I don’t know what it’s like to be firstly oppressed as an Indigenous person — so I’m choosing to continue identifying as Latinx — that feels more honest to me.
However, I’m grateful that a new acronym and increased visibility of Black and Indigenous communities helped me learn more about my family roots.