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Making the Case for Black with a Capital B. Again.

Jerome Lyles, 15, wants effort for justice to keeping going. (Richard B. Muhammad/NNPA Photo)
(Richard B. Muhammad/NNPA Photo)

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.

 

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