Associated Press Will Not Capitalize 'White'

Decision follows wire's announcement that it will capitalize 'black'

(cropped from Mario Tama/Getty Images)
July 20, 2020

The Associated Press said Monday it will not capitalize the word "white" when referring to race and culture, after announcing last month that it would capitalize "black" when used in the same context.

John Daniszewski, AP’s editor at large for standards, said in a memo to the news outlet’s staff that white skin color plays into "systemic inequalities and injustices," and opposed capitalizing "white" on the grounds that it could risk legitimizing white supremacy.

AP began capitalizing "black" last month in the wake of racial-justice protests following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others. Though the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times began capitalizing "black" and not "white," CNN, Fox News, and the San Diego Union-Tribune capitalize both identifiers when referring to race.

Daniszewski said in a blog post last month that the term "Black" is capitalized to reflect the shared culture and identity of those who identify as black. In Monday's announcement, he said the same considerations do not apply when referring to "white" in a racial context.

"White people generally do not share the same history and culture, or the experience of being discriminated against because of skin color," Daniszewski said.

The news outlet also decided to capitalize "indigenous" last month, and Daniszewski said the changes follow a longtime standard of capitalizing other racial identifiers.

Published under: Associated Press , Media