September 18, 2019

Racial dynamics vary country to country. As a result, we believe that correcting racial disparities in each country requires a tailored approach. As a new group staffed by U.S.-based advocates with limited bandwidth and resources, we initially decided to focus our direct service efforts on elevating animal advocates of color in the U.S. However, the global response we received after the Caucus went live on July 23 was staggering.

Within the first 72 hours of the Caucus launch, we received many requests from people asking to join from all over the world. As of this writing, the Caucus has 66 sign ups with representation from 10 countries, including: Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, India, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, Spain and the U.S.

This excitement for the Caucus illustrates the undeniable need for a dedicated space for animal advocates of color to build community, share resources, advance their careers, and so much more. It also reminds us that we are in a global movement where coalitions are strengthening and where national borders do not determine place of work.

Before launching the Caucus we had several internal conversations about what we should name the space. We landed on “POC Caucus” because “POC” is widely used in the U.S.; it can be a powerful, prideful, and unifying term that captures the enormous strength we and our ancestors have cultivated to overcome various oppressions; and it allows us to stand together in solidarity.

However, as society advances so too does language. In the context of a global animal protection movement, we have determined that POC is not the best descriptor for the caucus.

An Evolution in Language 

Some critique the term POC because it centers whiteness as the norm, with all others “of color.” It can also fail to acknowledge the wide range of experiences felt by various communities, notably that Black and Indigenous folks are marginalized in unique ways. It may also imply that white folks are devoid of race, which is part of the ideology we are trying to overcome. Importantly, in an increasingly globalized movement and world, many people may not identify as POC as it’s a U.S. social and cultural construct that does not translate universally.

There are still instances in which the term POC is appropriate and we will continue to use it in specific U.S. contexts. However, because of the reasons listed above, we are choosing to harness the globally inclusive spirit of a new term: People of the Global Majority.

The term People of the Global Majority has been adopted by many people to describe the majority of the world who consider themselves non-white. We like this phrase for our Caucus because as our movement (and society) are increasingly connecting globally we want to be clear that all people of the global majority are welcome in the Caucus. We also find it powerful to highlight that despite the fact that POC are still sometimes called “minorities” in the U.S., we are actually the majority of the global population. In addition, Tamanna Syed of Brandeis University points out that:

“The North American media tends to exclude Arabs, West Asians, Mediterraneans, South Asians, East Asians, [Latinx folks], Pacific Islanders, and Aboriginals from the term “people of color.” … The term “global majority” is empowering. It unites people from all corners of the world that are struggling against white oppression.”

Many people who live in countries outside the U.S. have a hard time accepting and identifying with the binary options we in the U.S. have set forth: you are either white or POC. It reinforces an imperialist tendency to say that one needs to be born in the U.S. in order to be considered white, despite the fact that many white folks from other countries face cultural- and race-based prejudice, e.g. white Latinx folks living in the U.S..

To better describe the full range of people who are welcome in the Caucus and better serve the international animal advocacy community, we are changing our name to the Global Majority Caucus.

To be clear, the Caucus is for anyone who holds an animal rights ethic (working/engaging in the movement is not required) and who identifies as:

  • Mixed-race or multiracial
  • Person of color, including Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian and Pacific Islander folks
  • Person of the global majority

We are inspired by the global network of animal advocates and hope to better empower it with this clarity of vision and name. Stand with us in advocating for nonhuman animals and for racial equity within our movement. Sign up for the Global Majority Caucus today!