Help us to Keep The Lights On for another decade! Back the Cable
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.

Join 2,500 Cable members redefining local media

Your support will help the Cable grow, deepening our connections in the city and investigating the issues that matter most in our communities.

Join now

What makes us different?


Post a comment

Mark if this comment is from the author of the article

By posting a comment you agree to our Comment Policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related content

How St Paul’s residents fought to make the Malcolm X Centre a space for the community

The Malcolm X Centre on Ashley Road is one of Bristol’s most well-known and treasured community venues. What’s less well remembered is the struggle local people went through to lay the foundations for that status.

Listen: The Debrief, digging deeper into revelations of institutional racism at a local NHS trust

Priyanka Raval discusses the inside story of her recent investigation into racism in health services, and what it says about the state of the NHS, with Cable colleague Matty Edwards.

Whistleblowers reveal institutional racism at local NHS trust

A Cable investigation spanning months has uncovered that complaints of institutional racism at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Trust went unheard, despite promises from management to tackle the issue.

Listen: Cable Live, with Gary Younge talking journalism, race and power

Join the renowned writer, broadcaster and academic for a powerful talk exploring his childhood, journalism career, and how his experiences have shaped his work.

Listen: Bristol Unpacked with Ruth Pitter on the role of the charity sector, pioneering Black theatre and her recent MBE

Neil chats to Ruth, a daughter of the Windrush generation, on her decades of work with Bristol's voluntary and community groups, how that's changed as public services have been cut – and whether she feels conflicted about receiving an honour associated with empire.

How starting an arts festival helped me find community in Bristol

Grassroots groups have birthed a movement that celebrates and represents people from East and South East Asian communities. It has unleashed a ‘warm, communitarian energy’, writes the co-founder of MOON FEST, which takes place this weekend at the Trinity Centre.

Join our newsletter

Get the essential stories you won’t find anywhere else

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter to get our weekly round-up direct to your inbox every Saturday

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter

Get our latest stories & essential Bristol news
sent to your inbox every Saturday morning