Posted in Announcements

The decision to capitalize Black

, by John Daniszewski

We are today making an important change to AP style that stems from a long and fruitful conversation among news leaders, editors and diverse members of our staff and external groups and organizations.

AP’s style is now to 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 lowercase black is a color, not a person.

A man carries a child as they march near Central Park during a Juneteenth celebration, June 19, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

We also now capitalize Indigenous in reference to original inhabitants of a place. 

These changes align with long-standing capitalization of other racial and ethnic identifiers such as Latino, Asian American and Native American. Our discussions on style and language consider many points, including the need to be inclusive and respectful in our storytelling and the evolution of language. We believe this change serves those ends.

As a global news organization, we are continuing to discuss within the U.S. and internationally whether to capitalize the term white. Considerations are many and include any implications that doing so might have outside the United States.

We continue to discuss other terms, including minorities and people of color, as well as the term “Black, Indigenous and people of color.”

Our revisions come after more than two years of in-depth research and discussion with colleagues and respected thinkers from a diversity of backgrounds, both within and from outside the cooperative. The updates become part of the AP Stylebook’s race-related coverage guidance, which begins:

Reporting and writing about issues involving race calls for thoughtful consideration, precise language, and an openness to discussions with others of diverse backgrounds about how to frame coverage or what language is most appropriate, accurate and fair.   
Avoid broad generalizations and labels; race and ethnicity are one part of a person’s identity. Identifying people by race and reporting on actions that have to do with race often go beyond simple style questions, challenging journalists to think broadly about racial issues before having to make decisions on specific situations and stories. 
In all coverage — not just race-related coverage — strive to accurately represent the world, or a particular community, and its diversity through the people you quote and depict in all formats. Omissions and lack of inclusion can render people invisible and cause anguish.

We welcome your thoughts at: https://apstylebook.com/suggestions.