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WCPO will capitalize the term 'Black' in reference to African American people or culture

WCPO building
Posted at 10:49 AM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 10:49:23-04

To some, it might seem like a small point: Whether a word is capitalized or not.

But I believe small actions can reflect important meaning.

WCPO9 has instituted a new policy to capitalize the word “Black” in reference to African American people or culture. This change is in line with many news organizations across the country, including The Associated Press.

Many news organizations, including WCPO, use The Associated Press style guides for consistency in terms of capitalization and word or grammatical choices.

There are a few reasons for this change:

  • It is consistent with capitalization of other racial or ethnic groups such as Hispanic, Latino, Asian American, Native American, etc.
  • We use the term African American already. Because that term is capitalized it makes sense to also capitalize Black.

I know some in our audience are asking as they read this: What about the term “white”?

We do not plan to change the capitalization of "white" at this time.

The primary reason is there is not a shared “white” culture or history. There is a shared culture and history for Italian Americans, for example. Thus, we would capitalize Italian American.

Secondly, white supremacy groups have pushed for the term “white” to be capitalized. This is a significant concern.

The Associated Press has also determined it will not capitalize "white."

We believe capitalizing the adjective Black in reference to people or culture is consistent and appropriate.

As always, please feel free to contact me with your question or feedback.

Mike Canan is editor of WCPO.com. Contact him at mike.canan@wcpo.com. Follow him on Twitter or Instagram at @Mike_Canan.