I first learned about the term "Person of Color" in 1990 the year before I entered university. Coming from a mixed race background, it was a term that took awhile to understand and identify with. I’ve spent the last several years thinking critically about the meaning of the term and its use in justice-making. I think ultimately People of Color (and I think it is good to capitalize, just as we should capitalize White given the proper nouns they are), identify first as their own "home ethnicity(s) or place of origen(s)". Second, we identify with our regional ethnic and racial community group. Lastly, we identify as Persons of Color underlining our relationship with the larger Communities of Color in resistance against injustice and racial oppression primarily in the United States but also in Canada (People of Colour) and Europe.
What is a Person of Color? DRUUMM provides an excellent historically based contemporary understanding in their by-laws. I agree with this definition and expand it to a simple 3 part test:
People of Color:
(1) Self-identify as…primarily with one or more racial/ethnic groups that are not of European/White descent. Persons may well identify strongly with their European/White descent heritage, but must also equally identify with a non-European/White minority. I personally don’t like the term "minority" or being non-anything.
(2) Seen as, in part, as a Person of Color by society. This extends beyond shallow skin color to being connected to cultural practices, language, shared resistance against oppression, active solidarity with other Persons of Color, and consciousness in our vocabulary about the effect of White Privilege and White Supremacy on Communities of Color.
(3) Live as, in part, a Person of Color in the larger world. This also extends beyond skin tones to our own choices related to strengthening ourselves against White Supremacy, supporting other Persons of Color in need, and being in relationships of accountability with Communities of Color, both specific to our racial/cultural heritage and wider efforts to unite disparate Peoples of Color.