I have always been taught to not capitalize black when referring to race. However, recently, when I have submitted finished stories to publications, after it's printed "Black" is capitalized. Usually, white remains in lower case.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Is this some type of grammatical protest that I know nothing about? In college, all of my teachers, especially my African-American Studies teachers, would take a beefy percentage out of my paper if "black" was capitalized. Reason being, according to them, is you only capitalize proper names of races. When you are referring to groups of races, black and white, both should not be capitalized. As this site says, "Capitalize the proper names of nationalities, races, tribes, etc.: French, Caucasian, Mataponi, Zulu. However, lowercase black, white."
I’ve noticed this capitalization of "black" on web sites from bloggers to respected publications. The only time I have considered capitalizing black is when using the term “Black American”. What confuses me even more is if you capitalize black then don’t you have to capitalize white?
This is just one of many examples of how race is in illogical concept and only works in America. For black Americans, “race” is all we have. We don’t have a nationality, ethnicity, religion, or language. Therefore, we cling to the flimsy construct of race. When leaving the U.S., many of the brownest people I've seen don’t identify as black. Yes, even when it comes to grammar, the idea of race falls apart.
Posted by Clay ::
8:25 AM ::