It’s fair enough to argue that we shouldn’t even be talking about BAME. For that is to lump together a series of individual human beings and reduce them to nothing but the geographic area of the genetic sourcing. Which is to do very much less than treat all as the special snowflakes that are God’s little children. You know, individuals.
But then of course India Knight decides to step in and grasp the wrong wend of this very messy stick:
I am half-Belgian and half-Pakistani. What does that make me? More than an abbreviation, thank you. The rudeness of it! We are all individual people with ancestry that is specific and meaningful to us, a source of pride and identity. So I resent brown and black people being lumped, or perhaps puréed, together into one convenient soup. Convenient for whom? Convenient for companies and organisations that want to be seen to be doing their bit when it comes to equal opportunities, for starters. “Oh,” they say smugly, “we do very well on the BAME front, actually. Loads of our new intake is BAME.” What they never do is break it down properly, because doing so would reveal that the vast majority of the BAME intake is of Asian origin, or mixed race, or presents as white. Only exceptionally rarely are they black British. It’s sleight of hand.
The call for individuality is clearly correct. It’s the justification she gives for the collective that isn’t. Because it’s not companies nor corporates doing the lumping together as BAME. It’s the campaigners.
It’s an entirely political creation, this BAME. By those campaigners who wish to show that they represent some significant group of society. Only by lumping together the Blak African and the Afro Caribbean with the Hindu and the Muslim and the Gypsy and the carryonthelistyourselves does on get to a population that is electorally significant. Which is the point of course, to use the group to gain political power.
Nothing wrong with it either, every political coalition is built in the same manner and that’s how elections are won. But it is a political game, this idea that group membership is what defines because that’s what enables the corralling into voting for the one party or another come election time.