B I P O C (n.)

1. Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color
2. African, Hispanics, Asians, Indigenous, Pacific Islanders, Middle Easterns and others who are non-Caucasians

Skin color often is the first concept and perception of race. It has a long cultural history that involves colonialism, slavery, and classification. It isn’t just a matter that affects the United States, Canada, and Australia, rather a global phenomenon. The slight differences in skin tone make serious impacts on an individual's life and often are imprinted since childhood.  

U N D E R P R I V I L E G E D

 Can you imagine :

  • You need to spend extra time just to dress up before going to a grocery store, so that you wouldn’t be followed by security guard or watched over suspiciously by staff;  
  • You have to go through extra paperwork to get married just based on your skin tone; 
  • How to protect yourself and stay a certain distance from people just so you can sit on the bench and watch birds in the park without having people call the authorities;
  • Be extra early at the airport because you’d speed more time at the security checkpoints;
  • Prepare a script for a convo with your child who sits in the backseat of the car and might witness you being treated poorly during a traffic stop by authorities.

I’ve once heard a person say BIPOC are being too victimized, yet he didn’t see the upstream problems of why some of us have to express our pain in a certain way so that we can get the justice and treatment that we deserve.

I’ve also heard a person said BIPOC should dress and present themselves better so they can be treated better, yet he didn’t see the reasons BIPOC may not have the opportunities to learn how and that these childhood traumas have embedded since young age.

R A C E , E T H N I C S, G E N D E R S   I N   W E L L N E S S   S P A C E

Image : Mwangi Gatheca

In the health and wellness space, racism and gender stereotypes are just as damaging.  Some of them even get culturally washed out. 
In The American Journal Of Emergency Medicine, Association Of American Medical Colleges, and recent searches have focused on the medical myths such as Black and Hispanic people having thicker skin or less sensitive nerve endings than white people. As a result of this, black and brown patients are less likely to be prescribed with pain medicine or proper medical care. 

Physician Weekly has also pointed out, ’Emergency room clinicians may be choosing which patients get pain relief based on conscious, unconscious, and implicit bias as well as negative stereotypes based upon race, ethnicity, and class.  We tend to be more sympathetic to those who look like us, overall, racial and ethnic minorities tend to receive lesser quality of care, have lesser quality health insurance, have decreased access to care, and experience diminished outcomes that lead to disparities.’

When it comes to insurance coverage in the US, 11% of Black and Brown communities aren’t covered by health insurance.  Only 1 in 3 of them who need mental health therapy or treatment can actually receive it. Women, especially BIPOC females, are often undertreated when it comes to pain treatments, according to Harvard Medical School (Health Publishing).

T H A T   D O E S N ’ T   S T O P   T H E R E 

Image : Andy Holmes

Herbalism has been studied and practiced in both traditional and indigenous medicines.  Unfortunately, working with plants falls into systematic racism that can’t be separated from politics for over 100 years. People across the globe have been murdered for working with plant medicine. Indigenous communities have had their information stolen from them and used to create pharmaceuticals without any recognition or compensation.

In the early days, foreign settlers moved into Central and South America, Asia, and the Pacific Islands stripping indigenous people of their rights as well as their beliefs. They were forced to turn over to western medicine and certain religions. This resulted in Indigenous people having to march across the lands to be given legal right to work with their own sacred plants. 

Today,  herbalists, naturopathic doctors, traditional medicine practitioners aren’t widely accepted as medical practice and are unable to partner with insurance to provide more affordable services in most places.

C O M M E R C I A L   B I P O C   B E A U T Y   P R O D U C T S   A R E N ’ T   T H A T   P R E T T Y

Image : Alec Gomes

Another deep concern is that cosmetics and personal care products marketed toward people of color are significantly more likely to contain toxic and dangerous ingredients and lead to exposure of unnecessary health risks. Numerous studies, like Zota & Shamasunder in 2017, have demonstrated that certain harmful ingredients—including formaldehyde-releasing and hormone-disrupting agents—are present both in higher amounts and in more products marketed toward women of color. In addition, an analysis by the Environmental Working Group of products marketed toward black women found that fewer safe and nontoxic products are developed and made available; in some product categories, none of the products analyzed could be considered “low risk”.

M Y   P E R S P E C T I V E S   &   W H Y   I T   M A T T E R S   T O   N O I R S T O N E . C L U B

We believe overall well-being requires a good foundation, setting a good foundation requires a good community, society, mindset, and environment. The ideas of “self-care”  and “wellness businesses” as the key to health, happiness, and overall well-being for communities. Unfortunately, most BIPOC don’t have the same luxury to engage in self-care practices as their White counterparts due to they work twice as hard for positions with pay inequity, lack of health food and personal care access on a daily basis.  The systemic constitutional discrimination and over-generalizing people in a stereotype are one of the crisis that has been slammed in our faces for generations. That not only leaves individuals and families experiencing pain physically but also mentally and emotionally, draining the home of strong, positive energy, and forming the roots of most chronic diseases. 

W H A T   W E   C A N   D O

Making a change isn’t a sprint, but a marathon. The marathon needs to start from somewhere. Bit by bit, everyday. We as individuals and businesses can do so much more than we think.  As Emmnuel Acho quotes,’Individuals affect the houses, the houses affect cities, cities affect the states (provinces), the states (provinces) affect the nation, the nation affects the world.’

Our beliefs:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • We celebrate a diverse community – folks of all colors, communities, backgrounds, beliefs, genders, spectrums, and interests;
  • We are unable to raise good children if we aren’t being inclusive to all ethnicities, spectrums, genders, sexualities, beliefs, etc;
  • We are unable to advocate for parents as parents if we aren’t standing with Black, Brown, LGBT parents who say different prayers every day because of the fear for their children’s, as well as their own, lives; 
  • We are unable to fight for small businesses especially during covid if we don’t fight the empowerments for Black, Brown, LGBT, and Spectrum business owners; ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • We are unable to stand for women’s rights if we aren’t standing up for Black, Brown, Trangenders, and who identify themselves as women;⠀⠀⠀
  • There’s no modern medicine and good patient care unless racist and sexist misinformation, stereotypes, and unconscious attitudes that contribute to disparities are removed.

Start from today: 

  • Before trying to know the What and How, try to educate ourselves on the Why;
  • Educate ourselves and our offspring to flip the coin, see the different sides of our lives, putting themselves into others’ shoes;
  • Learn and accept the person, not skin color;
  • Respect the culture that may be indicated by skin color, but don’t let it define who they are
  • Knowing there’s no All Lives Matter until Black Lives, Asian Lives, Indigenous Lives, Jewish Lives, LGBTQ Lives, Autism, Alzheimer’s, Feminism, ALS Matter (and unable to include all in here as the diversity in our world is tremendous.
  • Give BIPOC the same learning and leadership opportunities at school and in workplace;
  • Stop following BIPOC in the grocery store just to assume they look suspicious based on their skin color in track suits;
  • Ask if you have doubts, don’t assume.

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