On Juneteenth AP Stylebook Announces ‘Black’ Will Be Capitalized, ‘White’ is Still Under Review


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The Associated Press announced that its widely-used AP Stylebook will now require the word “Black” to be capitalized in news stories when used in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense. The announcement was made on Juneteenth, the date commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

The AP Stylebook, which is considered an authority on journalistic nomenclature, made the announcement in a Twitter thread Friday, writing “AP’s style is now to capitalize Black in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense, conveying an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa.”

The thread goes on to explain the change in context with other identifiers:

We also now capitalize Indigenous in reference to original inhabitants of a place.

These changes align with long-standing capitalization of other racial and ethnic identifiers such as Latino, Asian American and Native American.

Our discussions on style and language consider many points, including the need to be inclusive and respectful in our storytelling and the evolution of language. We believe this change serves those ends.

The organization also addressed the capitalization of “white,” writing “As a global news organization, we are continuing to discuss within the U.S. and internationally whether to capitalize the term white. Considerations are many and include any implications that doing so might have outside the United States. We will have a decision within a month.”

Twitter blue-checks reacted to the news, noting its importance and largely characterizing it as long overdue, as well as weighing in on the “white” question:

It appears that “orange” will remain lowercase, but AP Style Book does note that “Cointreau is capitalized because it is a brand of orange liqueur.”

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