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AP Encourages Journalists To Use Capital “B” in “Blacks” Over Small “b”

NJG Staff Report

Media outlets following the Associated Press writing guide book will now capitalize the “b” when referring to people of color in a racial, ethnic or cultural context,

Whether to use the small “b” or capital “B” when referring to African Americans has been a debated topic for years. While the Black Press has largely capitalized the word as “Blacks”, most of the mainstream media have referred to African Americans in the lower case as “blacks”.

In a blog, John Daniszewski, AP’s vice president of standards, said of the recent announcement that the change conveys “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 lowercase black is a color, not a person,” he continued.

The decision comes after more than two years of research and debate among AP journalists and outside groups and thinkers, said Daniszewski.

“It’s certainly long overdue,” said Doris Truong, director of training and diversity at the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank. “It’s something that people who are Black have been calling for for a long time.”

AP is still considering whether or not to capitalize the term “white”.

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