The Black Community Matters team have been calling attention to the important critiques of the problematic term ‘BAME.’ This collective term is used by many institutions, agencies and employers to present aggregate data which hides the specific different experiences and representation levels of the many identities it combines. Black inequalities are often hidden and overlooked whilst organisations publicise overall gains in ‘BAME’ representation. Contact us to arrange a workshop for your team, school, employer, trade union or organisation.

At an event hosted by the Skills & Education Group, on 26th January 2020, with representatives from the Further Education sector, the Black Community Matters team led a workshop exploring the implications and limitations of the term ‘BAME’. The session highlighted othering, minoritising, the historical dehumanising use of acronyms and the missed opportunities to make meaningful progress on racial justice.

With real examples of how ‘BAME’ data has distorted the picture and solutions to adopt more meaningful language, data analysis and action for racial justice, participants found the event very useful. The evaluation results revealed that participants left equipped with the facts, solutions and enhanced confidence to have more courageous conversations on race, to be specific, to break down data and to specifically address inequalities affecting black people in their organisations.

Participants’ feedback included: “what a thoughtful session inspiring others to take stock and take time to roll out those courageous compassionate conversations. Thank you – skilful and warm and quite brilliant!” and “What an incredible session on moving on from BAME” and “a great Skills & Education Group EDI network workshop on Moving on from ‘BAME’… Through break-out room discussions and listening to the lived experiences of others the session left all of us with the desire to continue this important discussion with the institutions we work for”

When asked ‘what have you gained from this session and what do you intend to take back to your
workplace?’ responses included:

  • Ideas for language to use with colleagues to push forward for change including removal of BAME terminology.
  • To explore #BAMEover; to have more courageous, confident & compassionate conversations; to have more forensic data analysis.
  • A deeper upstanding of using the term BAME and the need to further detail what is actually meant. Also more confidence when discussing this subject matter.
  • That I have a lot more discussion to have and that language is constantly changing and evolving.
    The most important aspect is to have courageous conversations and never assume, ask! This is
    what I intend to do in my workplace
  • The impact of this [Using the word ‘Bame’]