These two acronyms stand for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and Black and
Minority Ethnic respectively. While the term BAME is included in the OED’s 2014
draft revisions, the term BME is absent from its pages. The first recorded usage of
the term BAME, according to the dictionary, was in The Guardian in 2002. So it is
a relatively new usage, although none of the words within it are actually new.
Two years ago, Trevor Phillips, former head of the Commission for Racial Equality,
in his speech launching the Demos Integration Hub, announced that it was time to
abandon the terms BAME and BME on two grounds. Firstly because they sound
unwieldy and clunky, and secondly because by grouping different “ethnic minorities
into the same category, important differences will be lost”.30 His suggestion that
the term BAME might be replaced by the American phrase “People of Colour”
fell quite flat, largely because it only perpetuates the misnomer that white is not a
colour, and that white people have no race. Many people agree that while BAME
is a mouthful, and a somewhat blunt instrument, as a concept it allows for certain
disadvantages to be measured and monitored.