BAME: Is Black Needed In The British Color Palette?

The problem with BAME. Pic courtesy of The Economist

The BAME phenomenon. Pic courtesy of The Economist.

BAME and its place in the British Society.

Warning: This post is sensitive and has more questions than answers.

Let’s address the elephant in the room –  BREXIT plus the recently concluded American elections with Donald Trump and his gospel of ‘America First’ in combination with the wind of political change suddenly blowing from left to right has meant that the topic of  Immigration hangs in the air like a thick fog.

There’s a fancy new word (acronym) for people from ethnic minority backgrounds called BAME. Well, I guess everything needs a new acronym these days; I call them ‘Quantifiers’; LGBT, LGBQT, POC etc.

BAME which simply stands for Black Asian and Minority Ethnic group is currently used to ‘quantify’ people from non-white backgrounds. So if you ain’t white, and/or identify with one other non-white background you are BAME.

Personally, I am not comfortable with the word BAME probably because I hate the idea of being ‘quantified’. It is also laughable that some people think a word or acronym can fully represent an ethnic group, a people or a struggle  but since the Oxford Dictionary has made it an official word, let me address the ‘BAME issue’ in the context of British society.

I watched a brilliant program on the BBC the other day called ‘Will Britain Ever Have a Black Prime Minister?.  Presented by British TV and movie star David Harewood, the documentary investigated the obstacles facing black Britons in rising to positions of power and influence. The conclusion was what I have long suspected, to attain the top position in the country you had to come from the ‘right background’, attend the ‘right school’ (Eton), graduate from the ‘right Uni’ (Oxford) and move in the ‘right circles’ (Aristocrat) and even if as a person of color you manage to overcome all these obstacles, you will still need an incredible dose of LUCK to attain the position of becoming the first Black Prime Minister.

This got me thinking, if the English Defense League (EDL), British National Party (BNP) and other anti-minority groups and associations had their way, and if some Brexiteers had their way all blacks (and to an extent other BAME groups) vanished from the British landscape today, what would happen?

I am about to commence on a journey to address this critical question. Its a journey that promises to be interesting and I suspect highly informative. If BAME no longer existed and every non-white person vanished from Britain, what would happen? Will they be missed? or would it just be a case of good riddance? I am British with African Royal heritage and have made incredible white friends all my life; how would they feel if all of a sudden an all-consuming power forces us (BAME) out of Britain back to Africa, Asia and the Middle East?

Economically, what do we contribute to the UK? If BAME no longer existed and majority of security guards, nurses, cleaners, corner shop owners, butchers, bus and train drivers as well as engineers, investment bankers, entrepreneurs, business analysts, project managers, doctors and soldiers had to leave the UK would the country be better off or worse off?

Across the pond, Donald Trump constantly sang a song whose lyrics contained the words Making America Great Again; people insist what he was actually saying is: Making America White Again. I have heard similar rhetoric in Britain from the likes of the BNP, UKIP and EDL – ‘Keeping Britain British‘ and ‘Britain for the British‘ this means there is a call for a radical race cleansing in this country, so my idea of a post-BAME UK is not far-fetched.

Now, it wont be fair if I tarnish ALL WHITE PEOPLE with this brush and it is a fact that only a minority harbor such extreme views but this minority is growing rapidly as can be seen with the rise of UKIP and many other right-wing (including far right-wing) political parties at least in Europe. I choose my friends wisely and my excellent judgement of character has so far not let me down; my friends who are not BAME are indeed incredible so are connections and relationships I’ve formed since I started running my own businesses. Colleagues, associates, customers, uni friends…. all cool people, however, relationships have known to have been strained during the BREXIT; I guess I’m one of the lucky ones.

On the flip side of all this, the wave of illegal immigrants flooding Europe via the Mediterranean sea are currently at  unprecedented levels and that itself presents its own challenges – strain on public services, terrorism etc. Any wonder anti-BAME groups are on the rise? So going back to that elephant in the room then, are ethnic minority people better off in their own countries? What do they really contribute to this country? Will their absence satisfy Britons who want them out? As a minority, will your neighbour and friends be happy to see the back of you?

I often wonder if my white British friends will be happy to see me go.  If they are, they have not shown it; hopefully they are not, because pub crawls and drinking sessions will never be the same again.

Kole Obasa




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2 thoughts on “BAME: Is Black Needed In The British Color Palette?

  1. Quite an informative and interesting read. You touched on a lot of good points which gave me mixed emotions. I hope the world has gone too far to talk of “pure anything” in terms of ethnicity. Thanks for this.

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