The Racial Equality Working Group have discussed terminology in relation to our work with communities that have previously been referred to as BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) or BME (Black and Minority Ethnic). BME is the most commonly used policy term when referring to Black and ethnically/racially minoritized members of the population, but in recent years and months the conversation around the problematic nature of this term has been hard to ignore.
A number of activists and actors working in the racial equality and identity space have raised issues with using the terms BAME and BME, highlighting the issues around lumping together hugely diverse groups of people in one homogenous , acronymed group. Few people seemingly actually identify with this broad umbrella group and it therefore does not seem appropriate or fitting. As a result of some of these conversations and of setting up our working group, we have agreed that within Survivors’ Network we need an alternative to this language. This conversation has taken place alongside discussions around equalities monitoring and data collection which is a dynamic and ever-changing task.
Language is ever evolving but has its limitations, and ultimately, we are talking about incredibly diverse groups of people. As such, there may never (or not currently) be a term that appropriately represents everyone we are trying to work with, and therefore we may feel that we need to re-visit this discussion on an ongoing basis. For now, however, this feels like a step in the right direction.
The group has agreed that ‘people who experience racism’ is a preferable term for us to use when referring to clients who are not White British and we will be using this in the job title for our lead worker, Yasmin. We settled on this term because the common experience of this diverse group will be one of racism (structural and direct) within the British system of white supremacy and privilege.
We would also ask that staff make every effort to use this term when referring to survivors from communities going forward.
For information, there are other terms which some research and learning suggests are preferred over BAME and BME and these include but are not limited to:
- Global Majority People
- Black and Minoritised people
- People of colour
For more information please see statement here from BAMEOver.