New York Times: Capitalizing Black When Referring to Black People

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[The New York Times]
NYT's Dean Baquet: “We believe this style best conveys elements of shared history and identity, and reflects our goal to be respectful of all the people and communities we cover.”
Photo: YouTube

The New York Times has announced it will capitalize Black when referring to Black people.

The last time The New York Times made a sweeping call to capitalize how it referred to people of African ancestry was nearly a century ago. W.E.B. Du Bois had started a letter-writing campaign asking publications, including The Times, to capitalize the N in Negro, a term long since eradicated from The Times’s pages.

“The use of a small letter for the name of twelve million Americans and two hundred million human beings,” he once wrote, was “a personal insult.”

The Times turned him down in 1926 before coming around in 1930, when the paper wrote that the new entry in its stylebook — its internal guide on grammar and usage — was “not merely a typographical change,” but “an act in recognition of racial self-respect.”

Decades later, a monthlong internal discussion at The Times led the paper on Tuesday to make, for similar reasons, its latest style change on race — capitalizing Black when describing people and cultures of African origin.

“We believe this style best conveys elements of shared history and identity, and reflects our goal to be respectful of all the people and communities we cover,” said Dean Baquet, The Times’s executive editor, and Phil Corbett, associate managing editor for standards, in a memo to staff.

Conversations about the change began in earnest at The Times and elsewhere after the death of George Floyd and subsequent protests, said Mike Abrams, senior editor for editing standards. Several major news media organizations have made the same call including The Associated Press, whose stylebook has long been an influential guide for news organizations.

“It seems like such a minor change, black versus Black,” The Times’s National editor, Marc Lacey, said. “But for many people the capitalization of that one letter is the difference between a color and a culture.”

Editor's Note: We here at the Black Star News long ago decided to make this grammatical change of capitalizing Black when referring to Black people for the very reasons The New York Times now cites.

For the rest of this New York Times story log on tohttps://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/05/insider/capitalized-black.html?action...§ion=Reader%20Center

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