Now that the respected Associated Press Stylebook endorsed the capitalization of the letter B when referring to Black people, Peter Wegner says we should take the move a step further.
A tiny change has found its way onto the printed page. It occupies roughly an eighth of an inch, a handful of pixels on our screens. I’m talking about capitalizing the letter B when referring to Black people.
In the last couple of months, The New York Times and The Washington Post have both implemented this policy. Locally, The Chronicle, The Mercury News and The Tribune have all followed suit. While exact usage specifications vary, capital B is quickly becoming the standard.
The best reason is also the simplest: respect. It’s important on the page because it’s so often denied on the street and in the corridors of power.
There’s another group that experiences racial prejudice with roughly similar results: the millions of people in this country whose skin happens to be brown. They come from many countries, cultures and ethnicities, each distinct and worthy of respect. But at least here, in this country, they’re discriminated against as a group – as Brown people.