March 16, 2006
Yesterday, our Features Editor, Mark Boardman, got into it with our Managing Editor Meghan Saar over the usage of black and white as in, “Some Blacks sure get uptight about being referred to as blacks. Maybe us White Guys should acknowledge this and show some respect and start using Blacks.” At issue is how we should style these two words (black, white) in the magazine (hint: we used caps in the current issue on the racial West. And, by the way, as you can see, we capitalize West, and most don’t).
Meghan reasons that we capitalize African-American, why not Blacks? And by extension, Whites, for that matter, as it refers to race. Mark’s point is that neither The New York Times nor The Los Angeles Times capitalizes blacks, or whites, and why would we be different?
Paul Hutton weighs in on the history of usage (He was an editor for many years) and that it should not be capitalized, but why offend anyone? Go ahead and capitalize Black. I think that’s what he said.
Editors and Writers From Around The World Weigh In
“I would use African-American or black (lower case). We generally ask people of that ethnicity how they would prefer to be identified. We use black if they have no preference. I would never capitalize White, so why do Black? In the end, however, it is your call.”
—A Bigtime Editor Who Doesn’t Want His Kingman Name Used
“It should be Blacks in the Old West. The term African-American is WAY too new to be used then. Blacks SHOULD be capitalized, as should Whites. I love how afraid you guys are about "Political correctness", which actually means just being DECENT and not seeing everything through a White Guy's Eyes. Hate to break this, but you guys have lost the monopoly. So get over yourselves!!”
Favorite Onion Headline de Jour
Poverty Stricken Africans To Receive Desperately Needed Bibles.
“Storms make oaks take deeper root.”
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