AP says it will capitalize Black but not white
After changing its usage rules last month to capitalize Black in race and culture stories, The Associated Press says it will not do the same with ‘white’ in its influential Stylebook
DAVID BAUDER AP Media Writer
July 20, 2020, 9:54 AM
NEW YORK – After changing its usage rules last month to capitalize the word “Black” when used in the context of race and culture, The Associated Press on Monday said it would not do the same for “white.”
The AP said white people in general have much less shared history and culture, and don’t have the experience of being discriminated against because of skin color.
Protests following the death of George Floyd, which led to discussions of policing and Confederate symbols, also prompted many news organizations to examine their own practices and staffing. The Associated Press, whose Stylebook is widely influential in the industry, announced June 19 it would make Black uppercase.
In some ways, the decision over “white” has been more ticklish. The National Association of Black Journalists and some Black scholars have said white should be capitalized, too.
“We agree that white people’s skin color plays into systemic inequalities and injustices, and we want our journalism to robustly explore these problems,” John Daniszewski, the AP’s vice president for standards, said in a memo to staff Monday. “But capitalizing the term white, as is done by white supremacists, risks subtly conveying legitimacy to such beliefs.”