BAME: By trying to simplify terminology, it’s excluded almost everybody.   I learnt something valuable this week, and had my mind opened a little more by someone with a real desire to bring equality and fairness to the forefront of everyone’s thinking.

During a conversation with Fields of Light Photography, a fantastic journalist / photographer (visit the page on ), it was brought to my attention that I’d use the term ‘BAME’ in a previous article, which I hadn’t really thought about until mentioned, although I did have slight apprehension about using it as it didn’t sit right for some reason, I went against my own feeling, and used it. Just by having a general and pleasant conversation about our similar mindsets was I led to google the term, and ‘is it offensive?’. By doing this, and before I’d even read the page that I’d found, did I realise that the term may as well be ‘the other’, or ‘the rest of them’, as that is what it implies. It took one sentence from someone to make me think about those four letters, and what they meant to others.

BAME, for those that don’t know, is an acronym standing for ‘Black, Asian and minority ethnic’, which is recognised as a UK demographic. It’s not a particularly nice term once the impact of the use is realised, and that it takes away the identity of every group that it refers to, which from a visual perspective, is anybody that isn’t white. Using myself as the prime example, I am a white, European, Great British, British, English man. That’s five identities that I have before even going onto my gender. Going back a few generations, my paternal grandfather and his ancestors would be ‘ethnic’…. the ‘un-white’ category. However, now, I’m alright because I’m not one of them. I’m a non-BAME person but have my identity as white. For anybody bunched together in the BAME ‘category’, they’re categorised as basically anything, without a particular identity or nationality. Just ‘one of them’, under the widest umbrella on the planet, which has something of a ‘you lot/bloody foreigners’ Enoch Powell feel to it, and once considered that it is a term of exclusion, it is disgusting that is still able to be used in general literature and conversation.

The acronym and ‘category’ were first introduced in 2001, less than 20 years ago, prior to the EU’s enlargement in 2004 when former ‘Communist’ countries began to be admitted. Immigration from these countries increased dramatically with many coming to the UK to fill important gaps in the labour market, which interprets to being able to include the influx of mainly Polish workers into the UK, and is now used to include everybody else unless they look like me.

For the sake of online applications, medical forms, and general writing, BAME must go. I’m not going to be known as ‘that lot’ as a collective in the same way that nobody else should, because my own identity is as important to me as anybody else’s is to them, and in today’s climate, everyone deserves their own identity as a birth-right, and as a citizen of this planet.

The year of 2020 has led to so many of us collectively really showing our real selves in our life choices, underlying feelings, and aware of the language we use and its potential impact on others. Whilst we look at this year, and how stressful and hurtful it has been to each of us for many reasons, each of us dealing with our challenges differently, I hope that part of it can be embraced with a bit of learning and self-education as well as learning from others. Part of my own journey of 2020 has been to ask myself not only ‘how would I feel?’, but also, ‘how does that make somebody else feel?’, and hopefully, even to just one person, I have set a standard.

Never stop learning. Be relentless. Knowledge is power.

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