"Don’t reduce people to an acronym"

Managers, listen up: Research shows that young people don’t want to be described as BAME.

by Sonia Watson

A new survey has revealed that young people don’t want to be described as ‘Black, Asian and minority ethnic’ (BAME), or other commonly used terms to describe ethnic heritage. For managers focused on improving and maintaining diversity and inclusion in your organisations, your efforts could be hampered if you don’t reconsider the language you are using. I would like to suggest a path towards rethinking descriptors around race. 

At Blueprint for All, an inclusion charity focused on young people, we have received a great deal of feedback over the years, advising us that the terms being used widely to describe people’s ethnic heritage by organisations and individuals were not sitting well with everyone. As we strive to make our society more inclusive and equitable, getting this language right is a key building block to bring about businesses and institutions that thrive because everyone there feels equally respected. 

To find out what people really think about how they are described, we commissioned Censuswide to survey people aged 18-30 in the UK from diverse backgrounds. The survey revealed that the majority are uncomfortable with a range of terms used commonly to describe their heritage, with 55% uncomfortable with BAME, 52% uncomfortable with BME (‘Black and minority ethnic’) and 59% uncomfortable with the term ‘dual heritage’.

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