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21 Jul, 2020 18:34

You gotta B kidding! Why capitalizing Black and not white is outright racism from Associated Press

You gotta B kidding! Why capitalizing Black and not white is outright racism from Associated Press

Top news agency the Associated Press has decided that Black should be spelt with a capital letter and white shouldn’t. This is pointless pedantry pandering to the woke left that will cause more division.

Great news! The Associated Press has worked out how to end racism at the push of a button. One of the world’s largest news agencies has decided that from now on it will capitalize the “B” in “Black people” and that will be the silver bullet to end prejudice. However, it won’t be capitalizing the “w” for “white people”, because apparently the normal rules of English grammar do not apply to institutions as prestigious as AP. 

In a baffling blog highlighting the changes to its style guide on its website last month, it explained that it would “capitalize Black in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense, conveying an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa.” 

The post, written by AP’s Vice President for Standards, John Daniszewski, added: “The lowercase black is a color, not a person.” 

That final sentence makes this month’s update from Mr Daniszewski all the more interesting, as it is titled “Why we will lowercase white”. If lowercase black is a color, not a person, then surely the same follows for “white”? Are we to understand from this that white people aren’t people? Because that could be considered pretty insulting. 

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But don’t worry; white people aren’t the only group AP has managed to insult with its justification of this ridiculous decision. According to AP “people who are Black have strong historical and cultural commonalities, even if they are from different parts of the world and even if they now live in different parts of the world….[whereas] White people generally do not share the same history and culture.”

I’m no woke snowflake, but that sounds a bit racist to me. There are 1.2 billion people in Africa across 54 different countries, and there are at least 2,000 different languages spoken on the continent. By any estimation that is pretty diverse. However according to AP, that amounts to a “strong cultural commonality”, justifying lumping all of them into one homogenous blob. 

It seems to be implying that white history is so complex that Swedes, Brits and the French, obviously, need to be separated into distinct groups, but Nigerians, Kenyans, Ethiopians and even black Americans can all be lumped together. If that isn’t racist, I don’t know what is. 

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Plainly this is a ploy to curry favour with the woke left and jump on the Black Lives Matter bandwagon by pandering to identity politics. Quite why it believes capitalization of an adjective will do this is beyond me. It claims that the capitalization of “Black” simply brings it in line with “long-standing capitalization of other racial and ethnic identifiers such as Latino, Asian American and Native American.” But those are all adjectives derived from proper nouns, just as African American is. Black, like white, is just a color. 

Daniszewski defends his decision to capitalize Black and not white by saying that white supremacists capitalize “white” and for AP to do so “risks subtly conveying legitimacy to such beliefs.” This may be true, but then why play the identity politics game from the opposite end? The fact is that the woke left and white supremacists both have an obsession with racializing everything; they are two sides of the same coin. AP, as an allegedly impartial news source, should not be pandering to either of them.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.