Meredith D. Clark, Ph.D., THE POYNTER INSTITUTE
(The Poynter Institute) — When I opened the door to my office after a summer doing research and writing far away from campus, it was there: The 2015 Associated Press Stylebook.
It was like Christmas morning for a copy editor, though the book had probably been there since its release in May. As always, I flipped through it to read new entries and see if there’d been any update to a particular entry, this year on page 30.
There hadn’t. The b in Black is still lowercase, according to the AP.
Perhaps it’s a quibble to some, but the decision to keep the descriptor in its lowercase form is a niggling reminder of the pervasive issues of Black underrepresentation in the newsroom and its effects: tone-deaf and/or anemic coverage of Black individuals and communities.
As media coverage of networked activism in the #BlackLivesMatter movement revives discussions of how media talk about race, the question persists: Why won’t mainstream news outlets capitalize the b in Black?
It’s a question of social and political will.