Broadcasters in the UK have announced they will be dumping the acronym ‘BAME’ for fear the term isn’t woke enough.
A number of UK broadcasters have made the decision to dump BAME — which stands for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnicities — after a report found the term to be “problematic”.
The BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5 will all cease to use the term and will instead opt for more specific descriptors. The demise of the word in official use is remarkable in its speed, given the term only entered current use about a decade ago.
This is in line with recommendations made out in the report by the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity, which suggests that the term should be avoided in headlines, and that the noun “Bame” should be scrapped entirely, never to be used again either verbally or in the written form.
This is out of fear that the term could be used “to replace people’s own self-described or self-identified racial identities”.
The report also notes that the use of the term “ethnic minorities” could pose problems as “by not explicitly referencing Black and Asian people, [the term] is not seen as a racial term and would include White ethnic minorities”.
Instead, journalists are recommended to opt for a so-called “non-radical” approach to reporting on race. This is in order to not scare away white journalists from reporting on race due to the terrifying prospect they might get a term wrong.
“The last thing we would want is for journalists to avoid discussing race and ethnicity all together due to nervousness of ‘getting it wrong’,” the report reads.
“However, this nervousness cannot be used as an excuse to avoid difficult conversations or use language that obscures the issues being discussed – especially around issues of racism.”
The document concludes with a disclaimer for readers in the future regarding the use of language the report itself recommends using.
Citing the fact that “language is dynamic”, the report preemptively rescinds its recommendations, saying that “any conclusions and policy suggestions contained within this report are temporal and subject to change”, and that “if a consensus emerges against any collective terms” they should be abandoned.
Diversity Report Reveals Gays, Minorities Hugely OVER-represented in UK Television https://t.co/rqdbOUPplL
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While the BBC has committed to abandoning the term for reporting, The Telegraph reports that the state-broadcaster will still use the term in its annual report detailing the number of non-white staff working for the broadcaster, as it is required to be Ofcom.
The BBC has previously put in place a 20 per cent diversity quota for productions, applying both to the front end and back end of production, specifically calling for the number of BAME individuals involved in shows to be increased.
This is despite the fact that a survey of the British television industry found BAME individuals to be massively overrepresented, making up around 23 per cent of on-screen representation despite being only 14 per cent of the total population.