For as long as I can remember, I have always capitalized the B in Black when speaking to my racial identity as a Black woman. Despite being corrected numerous times by college professors on papers I turned in, my commitment to capitalizing the B has never wavered. And because of this, I’m here to settle the cultural debate once and for all: the B in Black needs to be capitalized across the board. Here’s why.
On Juneteenth, in the wake of America’s racial reckoning, the Associated Press announced that it would officially begin to capitalize the B when referencing Black people in the context of racial, ethnic, or cultural identity. This long-overdue change, which was led by Black journalists and scholars, sought to do away with a journalistic practice set by white newsrooms that were insistent on using a lowercase b. When a lowercase b is used to describe Black identity, it implies in some way that we are less important, invisible, and not recognized as a proper noun in contrast to other racial groups that have a longstanding history of being capitalized.