Multi-American

How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

When referring to race, should 'black' and 'white' be capitalized?

Multi-American's sister blog DCentric out of WAMU in Washington, D.C. has delved into a compelling discussion: When referring to race, should "black" and "white" be capitalized?

The post cites author and television personality Touré, who in the author's note of his new book "Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?" explains why he chose to capitalize "Black" in the book while leaving "white" in all lower case.

Blogger Elahe Izadi points out that while capitalizing "black" is not sanctioned in the Associated Press Stylebook, the guide used by most mainstream media, "some believe both 'black' and 'white' should be capitalized to defer respect and equity - Hispanic and Native American are capitalized, after all."

What do you think? Here's the argument made by Touré:

I have chosen to capitalize the word "Black" and lowercase "white" throughout this book. I believe "Black" constitutes a group, an ethnicity equivalent to African-American, Negro, or, in terms of a sense of ethnic cohesion, Irish, Polish, or Chinese. I don"t believe that whiteness merits the same treatment.

Most American whites think of themselves as Italian-American or Jewish or otherwise relating to other past connections that Blacks cannot make because of the familial and national disruptions of slavery. So to me, because Black speaks to an unknown familial/national past it deserves capitalization.

" dcentric.wamu.org

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