UK broadcasters to ditch the phrase ‘BAME’

In recent years the phrase BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic people) has become widely used by the media as a catch-all description to describe people of a certain ethnicity.

Yet its days of use by broadcasters appears to be over in the UK at least, after the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 responded to the findings of a report undertaken by the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity.

The report concluded there “was a lack of trust” around the term BAME and that broadcasters should use more specific terms to describe ethnicity. It concludes that not using the expression BAME would help to ensure better representation and to boost diversity by acknowledging the unique experiences of people from different ethnic backgrounds.

The broadcasters have committed to moving away from using the term in their newsrooms and corporate communications, though it may still be used in reported speech and official documents.

The authors of the report are delighted with the way that the UK media has responded, “We are very happy that British broadcasters are taking the issue of racial language seriously and were happy to undertake this piece of work,” said Sarita Malik, Marcus Ryder, Stevie Marsden, Robert Lawson and Matt Gee in a joint statement.

Miranda Wayland, BBC head of creative and workforce diversity and inclusion, said that “ensuring that the rich and complex lived experiences of individual ethnic groups are accurately reflected and truthfully portrayed on air and properly recognised in our workplace” was part of the corporation’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion.


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