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How do you define BAME?

(44 Posts)
Abbccc Fri 17-Apr-20 20:15:10

There have been a lot of concern that more BAME people are dying of Coronavirus. On another thread about Germany someone was asking if their BAME population is smaller than the UK. But who is actually included in this definition? I am partucularly confused about the ethnic minority part.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary ethnic means:

relatingto aparticularraceofpeople:


from a differentrace, orinterestingbecausecharacteristicof an ethnicgroupthat is very different from those that arecommoninwesternculture:

What's a race? Is everone in western culture the same race? What is even western culture? Do you feel included in the BAME definition? I'm from A western culture, not from western culture in general. I am from a minority culture (in the UK) that is much smaller than the Black ethnic minority, for example.
And black is a skin colour, Asia is a continent....

Just feels like talking about the BAME as a "community" is a very strange thing to do as it includes so many different people who are very different to eachother!

OP’s posts: |
babychange12 Fri 17-Apr-20 20:17:35

Anyone who is not white?

cinammonbuns Fri 17-Apr-20 20:33:38

It is black Asian minority ethnic. In the Uk it’s probably anybody who is not ethnically from a European country.

Black is used to encapsulate African and Afro Caribbean.

I think you are over complicating it...

lovelilies Fri 17-Apr-20 20:35:11

Black and Asian.

cinammonbuns Fri 17-Apr-20 20:35:23

It is basically somebody who is not ethnically European. I think you are trying to politicise it or bring in social factors which are irrelevant when it comes to medicine.

They are basically trying to determine if there is something genetic about being from a non-European ethnic background which causes an increased risk of death from Covid.

cinammonbuns Fri 17-Apr-20 20:36:22

@lovelilies not that simple because indigenous people from America and Australia would be included as well as Pacific Islanders but basically not European.

Bumsnet1 Fri 17-Apr-20 20:38:46

As someone who comes under the BAME category, it's anyone who is not white. It's also a term I hate!

I feel BAME is divisive, it gives the impression of 'them' and 'us'. All the brown people are lumped together, however I don't have much in common with most of the cultures that come under this 'BAME' term.

In regards to cover-19, it is useful to see the demographic of the victims, but we need a better breakdown than 'BAME'.

EthelMayFergus Fri 17-Apr-20 20:41:01

I consider BAME as not white. I'm Irish and I think I'm technically an ethnic minority here in the UK? I'm not sure. I know that back home travellers are considered an ethnic minority, yet they're white. It's confusing.

cinammonbuns Fri 17-Apr-20 20:41:18


Well different strokes for different folks. I am BAME and I am fine with the term especially in a medical context.

cinammonbuns Fri 17-Apr-20 20:43:16


Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think Irish people are considered part of BAME in the UK.

cinammonbuns Fri 17-Apr-20 20:44:17

This link explains it very clearly, white Irish is still part of white so it isn’t BAME.

nellodee Fri 17-Apr-20 20:44:26

With regards to Covid-19, I think BAME relates to having a darker skin, which then may relate to vitamin D absorption rates.

jimmyhill Fri 17-Apr-20 20:44:35

Just feels like talking about the BAME as a "community" is a very strange thing to do

Then don't. You're white. You don't need to talk about the BAME community or worry about whether it's appropriate language. Members of the BAME community can do that for yourselves.

In exchange you and fellow members of your own identity based community can also decide for yourselves how you want to be described.

cinammonbuns Fri 17-Apr-20 20:47:41

@nellodee no it refers to people described in the link I posted. People can be part of the BAME group and have lighter skin. There are people will albinism who are part of BAME and a range of people with lighter and darker skin tones. It is about ethnic origin.

Barbie222 Fri 17-Apr-20 20:47:56

* Members of the BAME community can do that for yourselves.*

Unfortunate typo.

In this context it's people with dark skin because they are disproportionately represented in covid deaths. No one is sure why.

jimmyhill Fri 17-Apr-20 20:53:05

Unfortunate typo.

Should have been "themselves"!!!

Areyouactuallyseriousrightnow Fri 17-Apr-20 20:53:27

My interpretation is that BAME applies to those whose ethnicity is not ‘white’, either part or fully- it would include those who are mixed race, white/other. N.b. To PPs It’s not just black and Asian, it includes other non- white minority ethnicities, eg Middle Eastern.

Areyouactuallyseriousrightnow Fri 17-Apr-20 21:00:57

Just seen the link from @cinammonbuns which is crystal clear!

Al1Langdownthecleghole Fri 17-Apr-20 21:06:37

I thought it was black and minority ethnic, so covers travellers and in the context of covid 19, Orthodox Jews as well.

But then, I expect you know that OP.

RedskyAtnight Fri 17-Apr-20 21:06:41

It's not remotely clear cut IMO, particularly in these days where there are many more mixed race people.

I am mixed race white/Asian. I have a brown skin/look Asian. I was born and lived my whole life in the UK with very minimal reference to my Asian background. So I find ethnicity questions very hard to answer (they are not, or shouldn't be about skin colour alone). But I imagine I probably fit into someone's definition of BAME.

My children have a white father. They both look white. My DS has blonde hair and blue eyes, for example. However they both tan more easily than you might expect which I've always assumed is because they are 1/4 Asian. Are they BAME?

maggiso Fri 17-Apr-20 21:15:32

I think it interesting that Australia and NewZealand - who are just coming out of a southern summer, and who have a mix of people of European origin and BAME- have a much lower complication and death rate. Are their BAME citizens more affected by severe Covid 19 complications?

BrexpatInSwitzerland Fri 17-Apr-20 21:16:25

In my book, it translates to "not white". Which, also, makes "BAME community" pretty useless as a category, to be realistic.

In the specific context of COVID-19, however, it poses two potentially important questions:

1) is the fact that, on average, darker skin leads to lower levels of Vit-D ceteris paribus a factor in vulnerability/mortality? If so, we need to figure out how to level the playing field ASAP!
2) are socio-economic factors correlating with ethnicity involved in non-whites getting seriously ill and/or dying at a higher rate? If so, again, fixing this is a priority 1 issue.

Porcupineinwaiting Fri 17-Apr-20 21:18:30

Well if BAME includes people from the middle east, then there are plenty of those in Germany.

Flaxmeadow Fri 17-Apr-20 21:20:56

I thought it was black and minority ethnic, so covers travellers and in the context of covid 19, Orthodox

Irish Travellers are of Irish heritage, so not BAME

English Romany Gypsies are of Roma (origin India) heritage but it's so far back in time, and mixed with hundreds of years of inter marriage to English heritage people, that I'm not sure if they could be considered BAME either, though they technically, in this identity obsessed era, probably are

Two of my Grandparents were what we woukd call BAME now. But i think they would have hated the term and seen it as divisive. They identified with their English or British heritage, that being their nationality, or even their county heritage maybe as well.

lljkk Fri 17-Apr-20 21:29:40

I thought it was a self-id thing.
Like Trevor Noah's jokes about getting to self-ID as white.
Nobody can say that's not true.

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