Tag Archives: BAME

Being LGBT+ and BAME: my story

The short article I had planned to write after attending Stonewall’s Diaspora Showcase on Thursday 6 September was going to focus on the issues affecting black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT+ people and what the Liberal Democrats, specifically the Lib Dem Campaign for Race Equality (LDCRE), can do to address those issues.

I was going to go through the findings outlined in Stonewall’s Home in the Community report, and talk about the discrimination BAME LGBT+ people have encountered within their own communities, and double discrimination in the workplace. However, my intended focus is not the right starting point.

The Diaspora Showcase was not about the bad associated with being BAME LGBT+, it was about all the good. As Stonewall advertised, it was a celebration of the beautiful diverse BAME and LGBT+ community. It was quite poignant that this celebration took place on the same day that the gay sex ban in India was struck down. This was of course referenced and applauded on several occasions during the showcase.

I cried when a series of short documentaries were shown, in particular the moment that an African man of religion stated that gay means “God Adores You”. I cried when Khakan Qureshi, the founder of Birmingham South Asians LGBT, told his story about coming up and out. I cried because this event has been a long time in the making. It is 2018 after all.

I have wasted a lot of my time regretting how I’ve not lived an authentic life. I often find myself wishing for a do-over. I wish I could go back in time and tell 15-year-old me to stop trying to convince herself that her infatuation with a high school friend was just jealousy. I wish I could tell 18-year-old me that my sexual attraction to a Muslim sister I used to attend mosque with did not make me a wrong’un. I wish I could celebrate with 21-year-old me about being with a woman for the first time, instead of leaving her alone and stewing in displaced guilt and shame. I wish the me of three months ago, RSVP’d to Ramadan celebrations, wouldn’t have been so tied up in worry about her response if asked: “Do you have a husband or boyfriend?”. Science has not yet produced time travel technology so I can’t do any of that.

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Inaugural meeting of the Race Equality Policy Working Group

On 13 February, eve of Valentine’s Day, members of the Race Equality Policy Working Group met for the first time at LDHQ. I mention Valentine’s Day because this is very much a labour of love for those of us who have volunteered to assist the Party in its policy making on this important subject.

The first meeting was also timely for another reason: it follows the issue last week of Lord Alderdice’s report on Race, Ethnic Minorities and the culture of the Liberal Democrats and an email from our leader, Vince Cable MP, calling on each and every member to …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Vince Cable calls for all BAME shortlists to tackle Parliament’s lack of diversity

Speaking to an audience of 4000 people at the Grand Mawlid Conference in Birmingham today, Vince Cable called for all BAME shortlists to tackle the lack of diversity in Parliament.  Currently, the law only allows exclusive shortlists for women and disabled people and the party elected MPs in both categories this year. Stephen Lloyd was selected from an all disabled shortlist in Eastbourne and Christine Jardine was selected on an all-women shortlist in Edinburgh West.

Vince said:

There remains a serious lack of diversity in Parliament.

There are just 51 BAME MPs. Despite being a record total, they represent only 7.9% of all

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Call for Evidence: independent inquiry into improving process and culture within the Liberal Democrats – focusing on race and ethnicity

At the request of the Party President and the Federal Executive I am undertaking an independent inquiry into improving process and culture within the Liberal Democrats, focusing specifically on race and ethnicity.   I have not been asked to address particular individual cases but as part of the party’s commitment to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society this inquiry has been commissioned to focus on issues and/or barriers faced by BAME members and supporters of the Liberal Democrats.

Among the questions I am asking are –

  1. Are there barriers to participation for BAME members? If so, what and where are they?
  2. Do barriers differ in different parts of the party?
  3. How effective are existing mechanisms/procedures in addressing the issue?
  4. Does the Party do enough to engage with BAME voters and ensure accessibility for potential BAME members?
  5. What further steps should, or could, be taken by the Party to address the issues identified in this review

Having embarked on the process of gathering evidence I am keen to hear from all those who have relevant experiences and views to help me form an accurate picture.  All the submissions I receive, whether written or oral, will be treated in confidence, and in respect of written submissions, I may well need to follow up on specific aspects in a face to face conversation.

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BME or BAME LibDems?

I presented this question to peers, fellow Liberal Democrats and members of EMLD (Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats), after seeing the launch of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Manifesto in 2015, and I continue to raise this debate while holding office as London Region Vice Chair – because sometimes an acronym is important.

BAME is the acronym for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, whereas BME is the acronym for Black and Minority Ethnic.

The intellectual argument that ‘Black’ is a socially constructed political identity – a way to challenge the racism in England – became absorbed into ethnic and cultural identity politics.  Caribbean people felt their skin was not black but shades of brown.  Their post colonial ‘classification’ had evolved through a range of terms that included ‘coloured’, arriving at the destination term ‘Black’ at a similar time as ‘Afro-Americans’, or ‘African Americans’, or ‘Black Americans’.  The battle to maintain a dual identity, such as Barbados Brits, was less successful and the internalized dislikes of our Africanness during this time made ‘Black’ the compromise that most people could sign up to: one term – serving two purposes.

‘Ethnic Minority’ is used because white-on-white hating is actually xenophobia, but that could not fit neatly into our Race Relations Act because the Act was for the protection of victims against racism.  In order to protect cultural groups like the Irish and Jewish communities from hate, we needed a noun that encapsulated the common experience of all ethnic groups and we arrived at ‘Ethnic Minority’ and with our European countries (Germany), we also arrived at ‘Hate Crime’ to define the offending behaviours.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 17 Comments

Ethnic minority pupils outclass white British pupils

 

There are some interesting nuggets of information in CentreForum’s Annual Report on Education which was published today.  Amongst other things, it identifies a north/south divide in attainment at secondary school and notes that there is still a significant gap between the achievements of disadvantaged pupils and their peers.

I am particularly pleased to see how well London pupils are doing. It wasn’t that long ago that London secondary schools were seen as failures. The London Challenge was an ambitious programme set up in 2003 to combat this and as a result some inner London local authorities went from being amongst the worst performing to the best performing nationally.

But the finding that has been picked up by the media relates to the performance of white British children. It seems that when they start school these children are ahead of their fellow pupils, but by the time they reach 16 they are well below average compared with other ethnic groups.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 44 Comments
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