Slideshow image
Submitted by Imai Thomas Welch
8th article in a series

What is “BIPOC”? BIPOC is an acronym for “Black, Indigenous, and other Peoples of Colour”. It’s an umbrella term for all non-White peoples. Even if there are many different communities within the BIPOC umbrella, we share many of the same challenges and concerns about things like racism and diversity. For the next several months, I’m going to provide some information and trivia about BIPOC peoples. 

Race, racism, and discrimination can sometimes have unclear meanings. Society’s understanding and definitions of these words have varied and changed over time. 

What does this mean? It means that two different people or groups can very easily have very different understandings of what race, racism, and discrimination mean. As a result, even if the harm caused by racism and discrimination is well-known and is legion, it can be hard for some people to understand and fight against it. 

How we define things is important. Definitions provide a framework for taking action against evils such as racism, including making formal complaints against racism and racists. They also provide opportunities for deepening our understanding of issues relating to discrimination.

So, a question about how the Anglican Church defines racism and discrimination:

Does the Church have an official definition of racism or discrimination?

Yes, under the national “Charter for Racial Justice”. This Charter was accepted by General Synod in 2004. Under the working definitions in the Charter:

  • Discrimination is the unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice.

  • Racial prejudice and discrimination are the partiality and unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of race.

  • Racism is the belief, reinforced by power and privilege, that one race is innately superior to other races.

  • Systemic racism occurs when one racial group misuses its power, privilege or discriminatory attitudes to exclude, oppress or exploit another racial group.