Friday, February 19, 2016

The Facts

I would disclose my rationale for why Black should be capitalized, but assistant professors Lori L. Tharps (Temple) and Meredith D. Clark Ph.D. (NYU) have already written about the topic in detail. Please take a moment to educate yourself on this topic via the links below:

The Case for Black With a Capital B by Lori. L Tharps

Linguists, academics and activists have been making this point for years, yet the publishing industry — our major newspapers, magazines and books — resist making this simple yet fundamental change. Both Oxford and Webster’s dictionaries state that when referring to African-Americans, Black can be and often is capitalized, but the New York Times and Associated Press stylebooks continue to insist on black with a lowercase b. Ironically, The Associated Press also decrees that the proper names of “nationalities, peoples, races, tribes” should be capitalized. What are Black people, then?

Making the case for Black with a capital B. Again. by Meredith D. Clark Ph.D. 

Perhaps it's a quibble to some, but the decision to keep the descriptor in its lowercase form is a niggling reminder of the pervasive issuesof Black underrepresentation in the newsroom and its effects: tone-deaf and/or anemic coverage of Black individuals and communities.

As media coverage of networked activism in the#BlackLivesMatter movement revives discussions of how media talk about race, the question persists: Why won’t mainstream news outlets capitalize the b in Black?

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