June 03, 2020
This week it was reported that the Covid-19 death rate in England is higher among BAME people than white people. The announcement was very much in the shadow of the current Black Lives Matter protests, further highlighting the systemic, historic racism that British society is built on. 
It’s Time To Get Rid Of ‘BAME’ – The B Has Been Diluted For Too Long
While BAME is a catch-all term to include all Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, the Black Lives Matter movement is just that: about Black lives, those of Black African or Black Caribbean heritage. 
Because, after all, it is not BAME Lives that are threatened disproportionately. Or POC Lives. Or BIPOC Lives. The acronyms represent such a broad section of the population, with different backgrounds, beliefs, ways of living. The only thing BAME people have in common is being othered. This means that there cannot be automatic solidarity among all BAME people with the Black Lives Matter movement.You do not get an automatic pass from also being from a minority. You have to show up, do the work, and become a genuine ally.For too long, the B in BAME has been diluted. Lumping all these groups together not only shows that we live in a white-centred world but that there is little regard for the unique experience of Black people, and the progression of other ethnic groups masks the lack of progress made in fighting racism against Black communities. It is equally not helpful to categorise entire communities with a few simple letters. In the US, the term BIPOC – Black, Indigenous and People of Colour – is becoming more commonly used, as anti-Black and anti-Indigenous sentiment and oppression are deep-rooted. While this goes some way to recognise those as unique experiences against the generalised POC term, it is still a very homogeneous way to identify people.
As a person of colour who identifies as mixed race of Indian and white Scottish heritage, I’ve known from early on that my experiences are different to other people of colour. 
I am not a woman in a hijab. I am not a bearded Sikh. I am not a Black man. Facing police brutality and living in fear are not part of my daily life.
I acknowledge that despite any racism or discrimination due to my skin colour or name, I have a certain level of privilege from white proximity. I grew up in a predominantly white city and was the only person of colour in my class, my workplaces and social circles since have been largely white, and the world around me has typically been bathed in whiteness: cultural references, fashion, people in positions of power. I have benefited from the societal structures that make life so much easier for white people than they do for Black people. As will have many non-Black people of colour. Getting rid of the term BAME would help to signify that the differences between minorities are vast.Not being white does not mean you can’t be racist. Racism and anti-blackness are prevalent within non-Black POC communities, both in the UK and US. I have Friends from Indian Hindu backgrounds who would often wonder what would anger their parents more: falling for a Muslim or a Black person? In many Arab and South Asian countries, whiteness is seen as the ideal and having dark skin is seen as bad.
This means that all the work on solidarity and being anti-racist is just as pertinent for non-Black people of colour as it is for white people. You do not get an automatic pass from also being from a minority. You have to show up, do the work, and become a genuine ally. 
Recognising the generations of ancestral trauma that are lived through Black communities goes some way to BREAKING down whether we need a term like BAME, which homogenises all minorities and can remove a sense of self. We have not lived those same experiences but we are all products of a society built on inherent racism and rooted in a colonial past that is easily washed over. 
Getting rid of the term BAME would help to signify that the differences between minorities are vast. That we are all more than just a box on an equal opportunities form. 
However, discussing whether or not a term should be used can easily distract from the fundamental issues at play. It’s vital that Black Lives Matter is separate to other BAME movements, because time and time again, it is Black people who are consistently oppressed, abused, marginalised and killed.  
Your solidarity is not based on your race. It is based on your actions.
Sareta Puri is a freelance writer.Related... 16 Key Events In The History Of Anti-Black Racism In The UK Exclusive: Labour Is Losing Black Members Over Allegations Of Anti-Black Racism BAME People Are More Likely To Die Of Coronavirus Than White People
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