AP Will Not Capitalize 'White' in Racial, Cultural or Ethnic Context

Posted: Jul 20, 2020 5:00 PM
AP Will Not Capitalize 'White' in Racial, Cultural or Ethnic Context

Source: (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

The Associated Press announced in a statement on Wednesday it will not be capitalizing "white" in racial, ethnic, and cultural contexts, after making the decision to capitalize to "black" in the same situations in June.

The news outlet argued that there wasn't enough "support" to capitalize "white" when referring to people, as those who are white do not have the "same history and culture, or the experience of being discriminated against because of skin color." They also added that capitalizing the term white is often associated with the practice done by "white supremacists" in their work, therefore they don't want to risk legitimizing those beliefs. 

The publication argues that blacks have 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." For this reason, they claim the term "black" should be capitalized whenever referring to a person who identifies as "black."

"Some have expressed a view that if we do not capitalize white, we are being inconsistent and discriminating against white people, or, conversely, that we are implying that white is the default," the statement read. "We also took note of the argument that capitalizing the term could pull white people more fully into issues and discussions of race and equality.

AP also took to Twitter to share the news, and the announcement received mixed reactions.

"Aren't you guys supposed to be the voice of reason?" questioned one user. 

"Your apparent strategy is to promote instability and the erosion of civil society, and simultaneously engender in millions is visceral hatred of journalists," commented another user. "I worry you haven't thought this through." 

"This is actual racism," tweeted another user. 

"The former news organization--the AP--is actually capitalizing the word Black in reference to race...but not White," tweeted talk show host Joe Pags. "They make a further decision late on White..but in this story..you can see how they're handling it. Nuts."

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AP said it will monitor how the usage of the terms evolve and plans to review the decision periodically.