What does the UK mean with having a BAME background?

“BAME” is a term often thrown around within politics and the general mainstream media, in particular when talking about the recent Black Lives Matter protests that are taking place all over the world recently. However, what does it mean to be from a BAME background?


In 2001, the percentage of BAME people in the UK census was 8%. Today, BAME people account for 15.5% of the population of England, according to 2016 population figures. Yet, an analysis published by the University of Leeds revealed that people from BAME backgrounds will make up one-fifth of Britain’s population by 2051, a substantial part of British society.

Representative Image. Image credit Campaign

But do you know what does it mean to be from a BAME background?

The term BAME stands for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, and is used to describe all ethnic groups except for white people.


An individual who identifies as mixed-race also falls under the BAME category.

It is often incorrectly assumed that BAME only refers to Black and Asian people.

The most recent census in 2011 shows that there are 7.6 million living in England from BAME backgrounds.


Therefore, BAME people, according to the UK Government, include:

· Arabic people

· Asylum seekers and refugees

· Asian or Asian British people

· Black (African/African Caribbean) or Black British people

· Chinese people

· Irish people (White other)

· People of mixed heritage

· Travellers and Gypsies

Image credit The Power to Persuade

The term BME is another variation which is used to represent Black Minority Ethnic.

Ethnic origin is identified by a specific history, ancestry, language and culture shared by a group of people. On the other hand, “race” is defined as being “an umbrella term used to describe aspects of a person’s identity that is generally linked to their own of their ancestor’s homeland”, according to the UK Government.


It is interesting to view how, even if governmental data reports the need for an urgent action to be taken to tackle societal stigmas, however, the governmental action during the pandemic outbreak leaves much to be desired to achieve racial equality. Whilst the lockdown measures were in place to prevent the spread of the pandemic, it has been estimated that people from a BAME background are twice as likely to die of the virus that White British people are.

Image credit Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA)

BAME hospital staff have been told to get off the frontline by the NHS, while Health Secretary Matt Hancock has ordered an urgent enquiry into why the reason behind the increased likelihood of death.

Mr Hancock said: “This work underlines that being black or from a minority ethnic background is a major risk factor.

“This racial disparity holds even after accounting for the effect of age, deprivation, region and gender.”


But what concrete action has been taken so far? What changes has the government obtained after all the data, analysis, criticism, and related demands for the lack of racial equality?

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