Why The Times is capitalizing the ‘B’ in Black
To our readers:
Some of you may have noticed a change in Los Angeles Times style.
As part of a commitment to our readers and our staff to document and fight racism whenever and wherever we encounter it, The Times changed its style guide to capitalize the “B” in “black” when referring to people who are part of the African diaspora.
The Times regularly reviews its style guide and makes adjustments as language and society change.
“The conversation taking place at the Los Angeles Times and across the country reflects a necessary and long-overdue shift in thinking about racism,” said Times Executive Editor Norman Pearlstine. “Without exception, The Times is opposed to racism.”
The Times already capitalizes Asian, Latino, African American and Native American.
We are not alone in making this change. NBC-owned television stations, McClatchy newspapers and the National Assn. of Black Journalists also recently adopted the capitalization of “Black.” The Seattle Times made the style change in 2019, and other news organizations and associations have followed. The Associated Press, whose style is followed by many news organizations, also has announced it has begun capitalizing “Black” to convey “an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa,” the AP said on its website.
The Times will continue to have conversations within our newsroom and out in our communities about important issues and the language we use. As always, we welcome our readers’ comments and suggestions.
J.T. Cramer is the readers’ representative of The Times.