Is it BAME, BME, or ethnic minority? Why language matters.

A range of collective terms have recently been used in the UK to describe ethnic minority groups, including BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic), BME (Black Minority Ethnic), ethnic minority, non-white, and people of colour. BAME or BME are frequently used in the UK, but are problematic as they indiscriminately combine individuals of different geographical, behavioural, social and cultural backgrounds. Furthermore, the term BAME has been criticised due to its emphasis on skin colour and lack of specificity, so the question is what term(s) should we use?

A recent article in the BMJ explores terminology around minority ethnic groups. HSRU’s Professor Shaun Treweek, who was one of the authors of the paper, said ‘Many of us have struggled with terminology this year. ‘BAME' is problematic because it suggests lots of people are the same, which they are not, and is used a a label for individuals, and no individual is BAME. We don’t think ‘ethnic minority groups’ is perfect but it does make clearer that people are different and it can’t be applied to an individual. Language does make a difference.'

Click here to view the article.

 

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