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The Bristol Cable

Race, language and labels: what do people really think about the term ‘BAME’?

The government announced last month it was dropping the problematic term, but is it still useful in certain situations and are diversity initiatives still needed?


Last month, the UK government announced it was dropping use of the problematic catch-all term ‘BAME’ (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic), as a response to last year’s Sewell Report on racial disparities.

It follows similar moves from the BBC and other broadcasters in December last year, prompted by a report from the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity which found the umbrella term had been “used to hide failings in the representation of specific ethnic groups”.

But while the term clearly homogenises a vast and disparate number of people, questions remain: is it still useful in certain situations, when and how should the UK media refer to people’s race and ethnicity, and are diversity initiatives still necessary?

Five young creatives from digital platform Freestyle Bristol have grappled with these points at a roundtable discussion on race, language and labels, facilitated by Cable presenter Priyanka Raval.

Does the term ‘BAME’ still serve a purpose?

In another video below, Priyanka speaks to Delroy Hibbert, who runs Freestyle Bristol, on the contradictions of the problematic term which – while often insulting – is still useful for organisations like his to apply for funding.

These videos are a co-production by Freestyle Bristol and the Bristol Cable. They were shot by young creative Omar Powell.


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