The political term “Women of Color” surfaced in the violence against women movement in the late seventies to unify all women experiencing multiple layers of marginalization with race and ethnicity as a common issue (Source: The Women of Color Network).
We use the original definition of Women of Color as described by Loretta J. Scott, a human and women’s rights activist and expert on women’s issues and racism:
It was in those negotiations in Houston, the term women of color was created. Okay? They didn’t see it as a biological designation. You’re born Asian. You’re born black. You’re born African-American. Whatever. It is a solidarity definition, a commitment to work in collaboration with other oppressed women of color who have been minoritized.
Now, what’s happened in the 30 years since then is that people see it as biology now. You know? People are saying, “I don’t want to be defined as a woman of color. I am black. I am Asian-American.” Well, that’s fine. But why are you reducing a political designation to a biological destiny? That’s what white supremacy wants you to do, you know?
…The point is, when you choose to work with other people who are minoritized by oppression, you have lifted yourself out of that basic identity into another political being, another political space.
Unfortunately, so many times, people of color hear the term “people of color” from other white people; then they think white people created it. Instead of understanding that we self-named ourselves this. This is a term that has a lot of power for us. But, we’ve done a poor-ass job of communicating that history so that people understand that power.