Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre has decided to stop using the term BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic), saying it is outdated.
The UK theatre said it made the decision after listening to local black artists who want to see the term eradicated across the industry, reports BBC.
Echoing the reasons set out by Black Creative Network, the theatre said its use “reinforces the assumption of white British as the ‘norm’ or default” and that the move was “only the first step on a long journey”.
Last month, UK students and artists explained why they felt the term – which originated in the ’60s and ’70s – was no longer relevant to them.
More than 7.6 million people in the UK came under the category of black, Asian and ethnic minority in the most recent census.
Setting out its “statement of intent”, BBC reported that the theatre said the group of West Midlands-based artists identified several problems with the term and similar acronyms.
“Although originally intended to refer to groups of people as a means of measuring diversity across organisations… it stripped away people’s individual identities and encourages us to see those who are not white British as a single, homogeneous group,” it said.
BAME came into sharp when UK started getting reports that people from the BAME background were the most dying from the novel coronavirus pandemic. But the homogenising nature of the term does little to tell more about what was happening on the ground.
In an opinion piece at Varsity, Sawen Ali argyed that the terms ‘BAME’ and ‘Black’ were often conflated to present a misleading idea that the justice system, educational system, and class system inflicts the same structural oppression across all non-White groups.
“It is no secret that Black Britons are far more likely to be stopped and searched, excluded from school, or end up homeless than not only White people, but also their Asian counterparts. To conceal this anti-Blackness under the guise of it being a ‘BAME’ experience not only obfuscates from the material reality that Black people live within, but also trivialises the Black struggle for equality in the UK,” it argued.
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