UK

Scrap ‘unhelpful and redundant’ term BAME, racial disparity commission tells Boris Johnson 

The term BAME is ‘unhelpful and redundant’ and should be scrapped, Boris Johnson‘s racial disparity commission will suggest in a report.

The acronym – which stands for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic – overshadows the fact that people from different ethnic groups have varying life experiences and should not be grouped together in one category, the commission found. 

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities also suggests that people of ethnic minority backgrounds generally prefer the term ‘ethnic minority’ over ‘BAME’ or ‘people of colour’ to describe themselves.

Mr Johnson announced the establishment of the commission after a series of anti-racism protests on British streets triggered by the death in the US of George Floyd while in police custody.

The 10-person group – comprised of representatives from the fields of science, education, broadcasting, economics, medicine, policing and community organising – are set to deliver a report on race disparity within various sectors.

It is lead by Tony Sewell, who previous said the absence of black fathers is the root cause of knife and gang crime

The term BAME is ‘unhelpful and redundant’ and should be scrapped, Boris Johnson’s racial disparity commission will suggest in a report. The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities  is lead by Tony Sewell, who previous said the absence of black fathers is the root cause of knife and gang crime

The report will claim ‘the differences between racial groups living in Britain today are now as important as the commonalities’, a source told The Daily Telegraph.

The term BAME will be a key part of the report which was supposed to be published last year but was delayed due to the amount of evidence to go through.

Detractors will likely argue that a clear term such as BAME will help to systematically follow changes in firms’ diversity figures.

Losing the clear-cut terminology could complicate diversity efforts made so far. 

A source told the Telegraph: ‘The commission has taken evidence from across the UK, examined the data to create a rigorous fact-based report on what is often a highly charged debate.

Mr Johnson (pictured today) announced the establishment of the commission after a series of anti-racism protests on British streets triggered by the death in the US of George Floyd while in police custody

Mr Johnson (pictured today) announced the establishment of the commission after a series of anti-racism protests on British streets triggered by the death in the US of George Floyd while in police custody

‘It was important for commissioners to produce findings based on data and evidence to try and take down the temperature on this issue and have a debate based on the facts, not driven by ideology.’

It will suggest that public bodies and companies stop using the term.

Dr Tony Sewell: The Brixton boy awarded the CBE for services to education 

Dr Tony Sewell CBE is the head of the  charity Generating Genius and has been appointed as the chairman of the new racial disparity commission. 

His charity works with BAME children to prepare them for careers in science and technology. 

He was born in Brixton in 1959 and has previously said ‘scouts and the Church were important’ to him growing up. 

His family attended a white majority Anglican church, which Mr Sewell said made him realise he wanted to go to university. 

Mr Sewell later moved to Essex and Sussex to go to University, before returning to London to teach. 

However, he became disillusioned and moved to Jamaica, before returning to the UK after two years.

He then worked as a teacher and education consultant on a freelance basis, as well as setting up his charity.    

The international education consultant previously worked with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2013 when he led the then mayor’s education inquiry into the capital’s schools, which resulted in the creation of the London Schools Excellence Fund.

Writing in Prospect magazine in 2010, Mr Sewell said: ‘Much of the supposed evidence of institutional racism is flimsy.’

In an interview with the Times newspaper last year, the former teacher suggested that the root cause of knife crime and gang culture among black youths was absent fathers, citing figures showing that about 50 per cent of black children grow up without a father.

Last year, Downing Street defended the appointment of Mr Sewell to lead the new racial disparity commission, despite his previous claim that evidence of the existence of institutional racism was ‘flimsy’.

He was confirmed by the Government as chairman of the new Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities in July.

The international education consultant has previously worked with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2013 when he led the then-mayor’s education inquiry into the capital’s schools, which resulted in the creation of the London Schools Excellence Fund.

Writing in Prospect magazine in 2010, Mr Sewell said: ‘Much of the supposed evidence of institutional racism is flimsy.’

In an interview with the Times newspaper in 2019, the former teacher suggested that the root cause of knife crime and gang culture among black youths was absent fathers, citing figures showing that about 50 per cent of black children grow up without a father. 

‘People often say I’m ‘brave’ to say that. It’s so patronising,’ he told the paper.

According to the Office of National Statistics in 2007, 48 per cent of black Caribbean families have one parent, as do 36 per cent of black African households.

Defending the decision to appoint Mr Sewell, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘In terms of Dr Sewell CBE, he has supported many young people from diverse backgrounds into stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers.

‘The PM knows very well his work and how it has improved access to education across London. 

The early stages of setting up the commission drew controversy after Mr Johnson gave Munira Mirza, head of the Number 10 policy unit, a major role in its creation.

Ms Mirza had previously questioned the existence of institutional racism and hit out at a ‘culture of grievance’ among anti-racism campaigners.

Commissioners include space scientist and broadcaster Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, chairman of the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales Keith Fraser, ex-BBC journalist Dr Samir Shah, professor of surgery at University College London Lord Ajay Kakkar, economist Dr Dambisa Moyo, academies trust chief executive Martyn Oliver, co-founder of UKGovChat Naureen Khalid, Muslims for Britain co-founder Aftab Chughtai, and commentator Mercy Muroki.

Two representatives from the Windrush Working Group – director of Voice4Change Kunle Olulode and Blondel Cluff, chief executive of the West India committee – will attend meetings where relevant, No. 10 confirmed.

Last year, Downing Street defended the appointment of Mr Sewell (pictured) to lead the new racial disparity commission, despite his previous claim that evidence of the existence of institutional racism was 'flimsy'

Last year, Downing Street defended the appointment of Mr Sewell (pictured) to lead the new racial disparity commission, despite his previous claim that evidence of the existence of institutional racism was ‘flimsy’ 


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