Equality begins at the forefront of our writing
Everyone in society can do their part to put forward a more equal and just America, like newsrooms capitalizing the ‘B’ in Black.
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This country has lived through many historic “firsts.” However, as time goes on, it seems that what was fought for in the past is just not enough for the 21st century, and why there are protests across the world justly asking for more fairness.
That demand for fairness has now reached into newsrooms across the country.
Since the protests following George Floyd’s murder by police, multiple newspapers have taken stands and chosen to capitalize the ‘B’ in Black in a subtle nod of recognition for the movement.
The change started with policy recommendations put out by the National Association of Black Journalists.
Over 260 news organizations across the country that are part of the USA TODAY news network have listened. The policies are effective immediately to update their style manuals and use the word ‘Black’ in reference to a community as a proper word.
“Black is an ethnoracial identifier that is inclusive of the collective experiences of the Black U.S. population, including recent immigrants. Capitalizing Black reflects an understanding and respect that is consistent with how many Black people and Black publications describe the people and descendants of the African diaspora and reflects a rich range of shared cultures. It also puts Black on equal footing with other ethno racial identifiers, such as Native Americans and African Americans,” USA TODAY wrote of their decision to change on June 12.
Similar decisions have also been made at NBC News and The Chicago Sun-Times.
In the Columbia Journalism Review, the editorial team gave a more detailed description on why they capitalize the word Black and not white.
“Black is an ethnic designation; white merely describes the skin color of people who can, usually without much difficulty, trace their ethnic origins back to a handful of European countries,” they wrote.
Though a lot of these changes seem like things that should have always existed, and makes you wonder why they waited until now to do so. They are victories to be celebrated nonetheless and necessary to speak about.