Could the Failure to Capitalize ‘Black’ Get You Fired? Don’t Scoff!

Editor’s note: According to recent reports, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, NBC News, the Associated Press, and the Chicago Tribune are among organizations that have said they would capitalize Black but have not done so for white.  

CNN, Fox News and The San Diego Union-Tribune said they will give White the uppercase, noting it was consistent with Black, Asian, Latino and other ethnic groups. CBS News said it would capitalize White, although not when referring to white supremacists, white nationalists or white privilege.

Frank Report will capitalize both Black and White and in case I forget to capitalize either one at any time, it is pure oversight or irrelevant and no racial prejudice is intended.

By Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy

Dr. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at:

Recently, numerous news organizations, including the powerful Associated Press, made the decision to capitalize “Black” when referring to matters of race and culture.

Most such news companies won’t be capitalizing “white”, however, because this suggests an equivalency between “Black” and “white”, which would, in turn, give aid and comfort to white supremacists, who increasingly use the language of leftist identity politics to suggest that whites, like “Blacks”, should be treated as a minority group and as a protected class.

The attitude of the news media, however, is that whites should be seen as culturally disparate, but as privileged and dominant in racial terms. “Blacks”, on the other hand, are thought to share a common culture defined, in large part, by their shared experience of discrimination and oppression.

If we unpack these broad assumptions on the media’s part, what we are left with is the realization that, for these “news organizations”, going forward the “news” itself, and even the terminology used to describe it, will be forced into alignment with progressive ideology. Indeed, the capitalization of “Black” is a nod to “critical race theory” and allied academic models, rooted in Manichean Marxism, which essentially propound a new version of racism that positions “Blacks” as permanent victims and heroes, and “whites” as archetypal oppressors and villains.

From this perspective, the study of “Blackness” is invariably about resistance, coping, defiance, poverty, violence, injustice, trauma, and, of course, glorious achievement in the face of adversity, whereas the study of “whiteness” is about ignorance, prejudice, entitlement, arrogance, brutality, and coercion. “Blackness” is a rich vein of human potential to be mined and treasured, while “whiteness” is a curse to be lamented and, if possible, expunged.

That the “news” itself should be subordinated to such ideological constructs and misleading generalizations is distressing, to say the least. It hardly needs to be said that not every “Black” person is a noble victim, and not every “white” person is a sadistic brute…but, from now on, to make that point in the pages of most newspapers, or in most news broadcasts, will be tantamount to “hate speech”. Indeed, to speak of “Blacks” in any negative sense, or “whites” in any positive sense, might even become a non sequitur, because, for leftist journalists, the English language has been effectively purged of the terminology one would use to express such (odious) ideas.

We can rail against these Orwellian reconstructions of our language and our culture as much as we like, but the question is: how far-reaching will this redefinition of race be? Will the use of the term “African-American”, so recently considered progressive, now be viewed as patronizing and old-fashioned — even derogatory?

Lest we forget, once upon a time terms such as “colored” and “Negro” were considered avant garde and culturally sensitive. Now they can only be used by “critical race theorists” themselves — critically, of course — and by organizations like the United Negro College Fund.

Now, the language of race is evolving once more, but with a twist: at this fraught moment it is not words themselves which are changing, but capitalizations and usages. This introduces a measure of subtlety into our “conversation” (that is, our leftist monologue) about race that many ordinary people will find difficult to handle.

Soon, the failure to capitalize “Black”, even if it was an innocent mistake caused by ignorance of the new stylistic conventions, could result in the severest sanctions, including dismissal from one’s job, social ostracism, and — who knows? — even physical assault, or worse. And, if the harshest penalties await those who merely forget to capitalize “Black”, then how much worse will be the fate of anyone who, for whatever reason, makes the egregious error of capitalizing “White”? The mind recoils at the very thought of it.

The point of all this linguistic silliness is, of course, to tie ordinary people in knots — to inspire in them real fear, lest their reputations, careers, and even their personal safety be jeopardized by a mere slip of the tongue, or by a failure to use the SHIFT key as the Left demands.

Our dialogue on matters of race was already uncomfortable, even tortuous, in this country. Liberals are trying their best to make it even worse.


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  • I brought up this idea a couple of weeks ago in a comment that was either never published or held back for so long that it became immaterial, as hardly anybody goes back to read old stories, let alone the comments of old stories, i.e., stories not within the most 3-4 recent stories or greater than about a week old. LOL

    • Frank, two changes would alleviate this:

      1. Tagging articles by subject matter;

      2. A new comments section in the side bar relating to older posts.

      • One change would fix it, allow comments to be posted immediately instead of playing baby sitter. LOL

        • I have to review comments because there are a number of commmenters who insist on being rude to one another. I wish they would not do that.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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