Word Of The Day: BLACK (With a Capital “B”)

You may have noticed that some writers capitalize the word “Black” when used as a racial identifier (as is done here at RaceBaitR). You may also notice that some capitalize “white” as well (I do not). Most mainstream journalistic organizations, though, capitalize neither.

This is because most publications follow the AP Stylebook, which indicates that neither be capitalized, even while dictating that nationalities, races and cultures are to be (including terms such as African American, Caucasian, Italian American and Asian).

Because many people of the African diaspora use Black as their primary racial descriptor, and many do not have access their historical roots the way most white people do, it makes no sense that they be the only group who are disallowed to capitalize their cultural identifier. Some argue that because African American can be capitalized this is a moot point, but comparing “African American” to “Italian American”, for instance, implies that Black people have the same connection to their history as Italian people, which is untrue for multiple reasons, including that “Italian American” indicates a country of origin whereas “African American” does not, and as a group Italian people were not brought to this land unwillingly and forcibly stripped of their culture.

So I say fuck the AP Stylebook and capitalize Black, and you should too!

For a more in depth exploration of the subject, check out The Case For Black With A Capital “B” By Lori L. Tharps.

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