As many other news organizations have done over the past few weeks, the Chronicle has discussed whether to capitalize the “B” in Black or keep it lowercase in our stories. After extensive time, thought and research, we came to an agreement that the “B” in Black should be capitalized.
Per Chronicle style, the “B” in Black will be capitalized in all references regarding race in acknowledgement of the contributions Black people have made to this country’s history—including art, culture, politics and government.
As the Associated Press, an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting, stated in a June 2020 update to its stylebook, “the revisions aligned with long-standing identifiers [of other racial and ethnic identifiers] such as Latino, Asian American and Native American.”
With the capitalization of the “B” in Black, the Chronicle will also capitalize the “B” in Brown when referring to “Black and Brown communities.” Other news organizations, such as The Chicago Sun-Times, have come to a similar decision. With this decision, we recognize Brown is not a catchall term and refers to many groups of people who have unique cultural identities and experiences.
These changes to the Chronicle Stylebook build upon conversations which began last year among our management team and reflect our intent to use inclusive language surrounding gender and ethnicity.
As an organization we have also decided to continue using a lowercase “w” in white. We will, however, begin incorporating the use of “BIPOC,” which stands for Black, Indigenous and people of color. In every article we will spell out the acronym on first reference and use “BIPOC” on subsequent references.
The Chronicle will continue having conversations regarding inclusive language and updates to the Chronicle Stylebook, and as we do, we encourage our readers to offer ideas and context for future changes. As mentioned in our May 25 Editors’ Note, Co-EIC Mari Devereaux and I are dedicated to making our coverage of diversity, equity and inclusion a continued priority, and we strive to include our readers every step of the way.
We appreciate you sticking with us during this process.