On Juneteenth AP Stylebook Announces ‘Black’ Will Be Capitalized, ‘White’ is Still Under Review
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.”
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.
— APStylebook (@APStylebook) June 19, 2020
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.”
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.
— APStylebook (@APStylebook) June 19, 2020
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’S ABOUT TIME. https://t.co/55vOzaHN0n
— Gerren Keith Gaynor (@MrGerrenalist) June 19, 2020
The Revolution Will Be Capitalized https://t.co/499VGC1oB5
— Brentin “900 Number” Mock (@brentinmock) June 19, 2020
We’ve been out here…https://t.co/8qrp9rMB8L
— Rashad Robinson (@rashadrobinson) June 19, 2020
Capitalize “‘w” in “white” as well. Whiteness and White identity are not apolitical, neutral, ahistorical and/or natural categories. Whiteness must be marked as such and not allowed to pretend to be something inherently benign. Whiteness and White people have a history. https://t.co/GxHCpKNlcV
— chauncey devega (@chaunceydevega) June 19, 2020
— Keith Nelson Jr (@JusAire) June 20, 2020
Period!!!! (I lowkey have always capitalized Black even when I knew my editors will go back in and change it) https://t.co/0g2cT3uSDe
— Nneka M. Okona ?? (@afrosypaella) June 19, 2020
Sat in on a Zoom meeting about this. It was an awesome conversation. Capital B it is! https://t.co/biV3VdvRZO
— Cliff Brunt (@CliffBruntAP) June 19, 2020
AP just made an announcement about capitalizing Black
— Elahe Izadi (@ElaheIzadi) June 19, 2020
In journalism world, this is a Big Deal. https://t.co/TFW2By8A5T
— Robert McCartney (@McCartneyWP) June 19, 2020
Big Juneteenth style-guide change. https://t.co/pGxZGMDgVW
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) June 19, 2020
— Kristine Lois Villanueva (@kristine_ish) June 19, 2020
What’s the rationale on not capitalizing White in ref. to “race”? As APA points out, this implies “white” is the default while everything else is “marked” via capitalization. Would love to hear bc I’ve wrestled with this myself.
— Vance Lehmkuhl (@V4Veg) June 19, 2020
What’s white culture?
— “Tweets aren’t loading right now”? (@MzYummyDread) June 20, 2020
I’ll never forget a long conversation @emarvelous and I had a couple years ago when AP was first considering this — and a takeaway that regardless of capitalization, there’s still so much to do to help journalists improve how we handle reporting and writing about race. https://t.co/S3HJJpKhdn
— Oskar Garcia (@oskargarcia) June 19, 2020
— Hannah Lilly (@hannah_lilly) June 19, 2020
Doesn’t capitalizing every race/ethnicity save for “white” just exacerbate the problem of whiteness being seen as normative in American life while everything else is viewed as some kind of “other”? https://t.co/NbrSW2h9aK
— Aaron Sankin (@ASankin) June 19, 2020
— Zuri Berry (@zuriberry) June 19, 2020
Could have done this at any time they wanted, but it took all this to make it happen.
This is how institutions are brought in to dampen the heat of Black uprising. https://t.co/RMMyACoRxC
— Brother Q. (@andraydomise) June 20, 2020
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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