Why the 'B' in 'Black' Is Capitalized at DiversityInc
The White Guy responds to a DiversityInc reader who asks why in other publications the "b" in "blacks" is not capitalized.
Could you explain why the "b" in "black Americans" is not capitalized? I've noticed that other ethnic groups all are capitalized. But not Black people. Why is this?
Most mainstream print publications in the United States use what is known as "AP style," or the style dictated by The Associated Press Stylebook. This book and web site describe what to capitalize and what not to capitalize (among other rules of grammar).
I made the decision not to follow AP style in the case of "Black" and "white" when it applies to describing people in 2009. AP style is to capitalize neither; however, terms such as African American, Negro, Caucasian, Italian American or Asian are all capitalized.
Regardless of whether there is adequate representation among the decision makers at the AP, I felt DiversityInc needed to be more accurate.
The word "Black" is used around the world to describe people who have "racial" features indicating African ancestry. Please keep in mind that the convention of race has been discarded by science--genetically, we are all one race, and the human-genome project proves we are all from Africa.
"Black" is also accepted by many Black people as an inoffensive description. It is a generalized description and can be supplemented by another description such as Black Canadian, Black African American, Nigerian American or Black Latino. However, many Black people describe themselves simply as being "Black," and this reality is reflected in a body of literature, music and academic study.
I do not believe "white" needs to be capitalized because people in the white majority don't think of themselves in that way. I don't think there's anything wrong with this--it's just how it is. The exception is white supremacists who have a definite vision for what "White" means - and they capitalize the W.
Most American white people describe themselves in terms such as Irish American or Jewish. I will make the point that African Americans (descendents of slaves) cannot define themselves more accurately than an entire continent because their ancestry was obliterated by the practices of enslavers, which included breaking apart tribal and family bonds.
I don't think there will ever be a time in our country where "white" becomes "White." Nor do I think white people will accept the term "minority" when we become less than 50 percent of our population by roughly 2045. I think that's a good thing--people should be allowed to describe themselves, not have descriptions forced on them. I also think that the term "minority" is a pejorative and has no place in describing people.
Our capitalization of "Black" is both a reflection of reality and of respect. Opinions will differ on this, but as long as I make the decisions on editorial policy and content at DiversityInc, this is how this publication will write "Black" and "white."
Luke Visconti's column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.
The Children's Place may not be so welcoming if you're Black or Brown.
Miriam and Carlita Alejandro, Latinx sisters, shopping at The Children's Place in Camp Hill, Pa., got harassed by a nosey store clerk when they ask to price match clothes. A sales associate said the women were angry because they're on welfare.
Miriam said she was there to help a family who had lost everything in a fire by purchasing clothes for a child. Ms. Rhonda, the store clerk who was helping the ladies, said they may have to wait for the price check because the store was busy.
Miriam wrote on her Facebook page that she responded to Ms. Rhonda: "'Lancaster never gives us any issues or said such a thing, but okay.' Then Price Match Patty aka Genie who was never in our conversation started getting smart saying that we (my sister & I) 'were mad because we were on welfare.'"
Ms. Rhonda didn't know what to do when the Alejandro sisters reported what the nosey store employee said, but she attempted to chastise her. Miriam started recording to document the experience they had.
Price Match Patty has been fired, according to a company statement provided on Monday. Carlita Alejandro posted on Facebook that the company called and offered gift cards and reward points to continue spending her money at the retailer.
Because that's the way to handle your company's screw up-- buy off the people your employees have offended?
Alejandro wrote, "I will NEVER feel safe nor welcomed shopping their stores again!!"
The Children's Place has a history of discrimination. In 2000, they lost a lawsuit concerning profiling customers and had to provide anti-discrimination training in all stores in Massachusetts and hire a consultant to look at their policies.
Unrelated to the incident, two executives left the company this week (Pamela Wallack and Anurup Pruthi), "to pursue other opportunities" — the only minority and the only female in the C-Suite (other than the female CEO). The Children's Place Inc. has never participated in DiversityInc's Top 50 Companies for Diversity competition.
CEO and president Jane Elfers said, "As we approach the last phase of our major systems implementations, the opportunity exists for significant efficiencies across the organization, and today we are announcing a more streamlined senior leadership structure."
Price Match Patty has not been fully identified yet, but some commenters on social media say she's married to a Black man, like Key Fob Kelly in St. Louis. That wouldn't excuse her behavior anyway.
Others say they have been profiled at that same store by Price Match Patty and others before:
"Do not assume you are properly registered to vote," warns activist Shaun King.
"Do not assume you are properly registered to vote," warned Shaun King repeatedly. His wife went to vote with her registration card in her hand, and they said she couldn't vote. King said some of the reasons that people are being turned away are nefarious.
Fifteen states close registration today, including Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. States that do not have online registration: Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi, and Texas.
A list of every state's deadline and links to each state's voting requirements was published by the New York Times.
An ally defends the women and calls the police. This time, the racist goes to jail.
Two women casually conversing in a supermarket in Rifle, Colo., get rudely interrupted by a woman growing increasingly irate and aggressive. Their offense: Living while Latina and speaking in Spanish in front of a white woman.
Company leadership says loud, sexy, Hispanic employees with ethnic mannerisms are not allowed.
Former employees at Swire Properties filed a lawsuit in August against the company claiming they were fired because there was no place for "Hispanic Emotionalism" at work.
Twitter users put Lisa Benson Cooper's story back on the map by condemning the news station.
Lisa Benson Cooper, a Black TV reporter, was fired from her job for making her white female colleagues feel uncomfortable about their privilege.
Ruby Hamad, author of The Guardian article, "How white women use strategic tears to silence women of colour," heard that Cooper was suspended, then fired, for sharing the article on Facebook. As a result, Hamad has ignited backlash against the Kansas City television news station and it's picking up steam on social media.
C.J. Stanley Sr. walked his son outside of the school, and filmed his reaction to discrimination.
C.J. Stanley Sr. took his six-year-old son to A Book Christian Academy in Apopka, Fla., for his first day at school, but C.J. Jr. was turned away because of his dreadlocks. The school had a policy on no long hair for boys, and the fact that C.J. offered to put his hair in a pony tail didn't help.
Trump's administration, again, attempts to downplay the accomplishments of the first Black president.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders admitted Tuesday evening on Twitter that she gave false information when attempting to tout President Trump's record on job creation for Black Americans.
Sanders told reporters, Tuesday, during a White House press briefing:
"This president, since he took office, created 700,000 new jobs for African-Americans. After eight years of President Obama in office, he only created 195,000 jobs for African-Americans. President Trump, in his first year and a half, has already tripled what President Obama did in eight years."
She greatly undercounted the number of jobs created under Obama.
According to the official count from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since the Great Recession, most of the employment gains for Black people took place during the Obama administration.
From January 2009 to January 2017, Obama increased employment for Black Americans by about 3 million jobs.
"Sanders' error dramatically alters the comparison between the two presidents," according to PolitiFact.
"Rather than Trump tripling Obama's increase in African-American employment, it is actually Obama who in eight years quadrupled the increase Trump oversaw in a year and a half. And Obama had to deal with the fall-out from the Great Recession during that period."
After the backlash from Sanders' statement, the White House's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) said in a tweet: "Apologies for @WhiteHouseCEA's earlier miscommunication to @PressSec."
Sanders then re-tweeted the CEA, adding her own message:
Correction from today's briefing: Jobs numbers for Pres Trump and Pres Obama were correct, but the time frame for Pres Obama wasn't. I'm sorry for the mistake, but no apologies for the 700,000 jobs for African Americans created under President Trump https://t.co/EXGvbliwlS
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) August 15, 2018
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"The video is extremely disappointing to me," Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said.
UPDATE: Aug. 14, 2018 at 6:08 p.m. ET
Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby
announced at a press conference Tuesday that officer Arthur Williams, seen on video repeatedly punching a civilian, has been charged with first and second-degree assault, as well as misconduct of an officer.
From the death of Freddie Gray in 2015 to a recent incident where the violent actions of an officer was caught on video, using excessive force against Black residents, even by Black cops, is engrained in the work culture of the Baltimore Police Department.