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BAME: We’re not the same

The term BME (black and minority ethnic) has its roots in the idea of  ‘political blackness’, used by many in the anti-racist movement in the  1970s.
The term evolved to become ‘BAME’ as it was pointed out there were other minority ethnic groups in the country as well as black, with ‘A’ standing for ‘Asian.
The term ‘BAME’ has become contentious for many individuals who fall within its acronym.
The term is problematic when it’s used as a ‘catch-all’ phrase which fails to recognise the individual  identities and masks the differences between communities and their experiences.
While there are mixed reviews towards the use of ‘BAME’, we need to be mindful that  some people do not  find the term ‘BAME’ appropriate nor do they identify as ‘BAME’.
Reviews in various organisations have been going on to ascertain the validity of the word and help establish a possible alternative.
In March 2021, the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities recommended that the government stop using the term BAME.
One of the recommendations in the final report on COVID-19 disparities, published in December 2021, was to refer to ethnic minority groups individually, rather than as a single group.
This was supported by research commissioned by the Race Disparity Unit (RDU), which found that people from ethnic minorities were 3 times more likely to agree than disagree that the term ‘BAME’ was unhelpful. (
  • So before you ask me what should we do you need to ask yourself what would your organisation like to use , what consultation have you done with staff and do your research first -here’s an example of an org changing and the reason they gave:
  • The goverment even gave us guidance on how not to ethnically lump and how writing about ethnicity can be done
  • In 2020 it taught us that race and ethnicity still plays a major role in determining an individual’s outcomes.
  • It has also shown us that we should be more open to talking about race and ethnicity, and more understanding of each other’s experiences.
  • This ethnic lumping just won’t simply cut it we even wrote about it in our H.O.P.E report in 2020

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