Language is a way to communicate, obviously. Langauge is based on words for the most part. Words have meaning that people have agreed upon.

Of course, I’m aware that the meanings of words change over the course of years. The problem is when words change meaning over the course of a conversation. It makes it hard to keep track of what a conversation is for real.

An ideal example is the term “People of Color,” or POC for short. It sometimes means “non-white.” It sometimes means “black” or “African American.” Sometimes it includes Asians, sometimes it doesn’t. Ditto for Native Americans. Muslims? Jews? Pacific Islanders? Hispanic? Indian (i.e. the subcontinent)? Gypsies?

The imprecision of the term makes it impossible to have a conversation. For instance, if you’re talking about education, POC doesn’t include Asians. In Seattle, the desi aren’t POC, especially if they work in tech.

Me, well, when I run into the term I immediately discount whatever argument it’s used in because the term has no meaning. I then go and ask for clarification of what groups are included. Generally… it’s just a term to show that they are in some “in group” from which I’m being excluded.