BBC And ITV Ban The Word ‘Bame’ Following Lenny Henry Race Report

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BBC And ITV Ban The Word 'Bame' Following Lenny Henry Race ReportAlamy

Broadcasters including BBC and ITV will ban the use of the term ‘Bame’ to describe ethnic minority groups.

A report from the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity highlighted that Bame (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) was a catch-all word, used to refer to all non-white groups, without distinguishing between them.


Broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and its parent company Viacom CBS UK have decided to stop using the term in both their communications and content.

Lenny Henry (Alamy)Alamy

Authors of the report said of the change:

We are very happy that British broadcasters are taking the issue of racial language seriously and we’re happy to undertake this piece of work. We believe that, while there can still be utility in the use of collective terms, the priority should always be to ensure clear and simple communication that is trusted by audiences.


These sentiments were shared by several BBC Newsbeat interviewees, who discussed the term.

Nicole Miners said:

It misleads people into thinking that everyone who isn’t white English should come under the term BAME. And on top of that, I’m mixed, which, for me, is even more confusing.

BBC building (Alamy)Alamy

A number of people from the broadcasters also spoke about the change, with Miranda Wayland from the BBC saying: ‘Ensuring that the rich and complex lived experiences of individual ethnic groups are accurately reflected and truthfully portrayed on air and properly recognised in our workplace speaks to our ongoing commitment and investment in greater inclusion.’

Wayland is head of creative and workforce diversity and inclusion at the BBC and was ‘proud’ to have collaborated with the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity.

ITV building (ALamy)Alamy

Meanwhile, Ade Rawcliffe, group director of diversity and inclusion at ITV, added:


We were delighted to work with the other broadcasters on this very interesting and useful piece of research from the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity.

Language plays an important role in building trust and confidence in organisations. We will use the findings to build on our internal race fluency training, which will help us to further embed an inclusive culture at ITV as we work to deliver the actions that we have committed to in our Diversity Acceleration Plan.

The news comes after a recent survey of people from diverse backgrounds in the UK between the ages of 18 and 30 revealed the majority are uncomfortable with the term.

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Topics: News, BBC, ITV, Now, Report


Metro and 1 other
  1. Metro

    BBC and ITV vow to ban use of ‘Bame’ to describe ethnic minority groups after Sir Lenny Henry race report

  2. BBC

    BAME acronym: UK broadcasters commit to avoiding catch-all term

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