The government’s Race Review released its report at the end of March.
Large amounts of the review were quickly questioned and there is an overwhelming amount of mistrust in their findings. However, one portion found quick support – the recommendation to terminate use of the acronym ‘BAME’ (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic).
The conversation for us regarding the label and our application of it has been ongoing for some time. We made a statement in July 2020 to share our stance then, and our motivation for using the term thus far.
“The term ‘BAME’ has a history of controversy, of being questioned or rejected outright. The word has its roots in an anti-racist movement from the 1970s in which outcasted ethnic groups joined together in order to fight against discrimination. Since, ‘BAME’ has become increasingly prevalent in our vernacular, particularly over the last couple years. While the ubiquity of the term in society undoubtedly has its merits, the worry is that the term is reductive, and it can be used lazily with little thought into the people it encompasses.
Most people who fall into the category of BAME would never self-identify as such, which is indeed a problem. We support the right to reject the BAME label, to self-identify in the way that feels most authentic to you. However, in its practical applications, we think it important to remember the anti-racist purposes of its birth into our language, to recall the reasons why there was a need for such a ‘catch-all’ term in the first place, reasons which are still very much relevant today. It can also be beneficial in that it signposts the mission of an organisation or investigation, a mission to make a priority the ethnic groups that receive undue discrimination.”
As an organisation with social change at its very heart, we are always reflecting, adapting and improving. We want you to know that we are listening.
The ‘BAME’ acronym cannot account for the vastness of experience contained within it. We understand that, for many, it may well have outgrown its relevance in our society today.
However, equally important to us is that the debate around the specific language we use does not detract from larger issues at hand – the many and very real challenges facing minority groups in the UK.
We’re now working hard to come up with a solution for our organisation moving forward. Now, and always, we strive to be truly representative of the people and communities we serve.
We don’t have the answer right now, but the conversation is not over. Stay with us and we promise to keep you updated.