The Citz Storytellers are launching the next phase of their No Box No Label campaign, which looks at the acronym BAME and why it should no longer be used. Read about the campaign here »
Beyonce Meikle – of the No Box No Label campaign – writes about how she sees BAME being used, and why it doesn’t work for her…
The term BAME stands for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic. The term BAME is something that encompasses everyone who is not White British and disregards individuality. The term BAME is something used to describe me. On a form, on a questionnaire, on a demographic, on a poster to show that, “Yes! We are inclusive!”. But it is kind of weird because I would never describe myself as BAME. And it was not until I was beginning to fill out forms and register myself for things that I realised, this is a large chunk of how people see me. BAME. And a woman.
So here’s what it is. I would describe myself as mixed race. It is what I was brought up using until only quite recently, the realisation came about that there is only one race. The human race. So now I say that I am mixed heritage. For I am English, Scottish, Jamaican and Indian. Parts of who I am can already be shadowed over by even using mixed heritage, so being labelled as just BAME? It really goes to show that I am just a percentage in the population.
As someone who is currently in university, it’s almost seen as a token thing. Teachers seem to be quite excited that they have BAME students and like to use us more when it comes to representing the university because it makes them seem more diverse. The students that is. The teachers on the other hand… I can certainly say for me that I don’t see diversity there. Aside from the odd guest lecturer.
It can depend on how you look at it. On one hand, I tend to get first access to opportunities now, there are even things created just for BAME people! There’s a weird sort of power with it when it comes to institutions desperate for some diversity. Desperate to tick the BAME box. However, I do not experience the same things as anyone else who has been labelled BAME, yet we are seen to all be the same. There has to be things created just for BAME people otherwise, I wouldn’t be in with a chance. I am seen as a ‘trend’. There is much more to me than the colour of my skin and my background, but sometimes, and this is quite an unfortunate thing, it’s all people can really see.