News 30th June 2021 1 minute read

Retail Week | The problem with ‘BAME’ and other inclusive terminology

Corine Sheratte comments on the use of inclusive terminology for Retail Week and explores how, and why, the language of diversity and inclusion should reflect the nuances of lived experience.

The use of catch all terms is doing more harm than good as acronyms such as BAME then create misleading data sets that don’t differentiate between a wide range of lived experiences. Corine expands on this saying:

When deeper analysis is carried out into the ‘BAME’ category, it often reveals higher levels of disproportionality (both in experience and representation) for those of black heritage compared to other ethnically-diverse colleagues.

Creating an effective diversity and inclusion strategy without having an understanding of the individuals that make up your organisation is never going to work. Grouping individuals who have widely different racial backgrounds, lived experiences and who are facing very different challenges trivialises much BAME data gathered.

Corine states that uncomfortable conversations may be required however this is not something to shy away from.

Whilst it is important to step out of our comfort zone, it is equally, if not more, important to use that level of discomfort as a catalyst for learning, accountability and change as we move along our diversity, ethnicity and inclusion journeys.

Organisations are advised to do their research, discuss it with their colleagues or wider team and don’t be afraid to ask.

Language is deeply personal. As such, we should never assume how anyone identifies. It is therefore important to check the language we use in order to communicate effectively and respectfully in the workplace.

For more insight into making your workplace more inclusive read the full Retail Week article.

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