A Debate Over Identity and Race Asks, Are African-Americans ‘Black’ or ‘black’?


For proponents of capitalizing black, there are grammatical reasons — it refers to a specific group of people so it should be a proper noun, they say. But some see it as a moral issue as well.

It confers a sense of power and respect to black people, who have often been relegated to the lowest rungs of society through racist systems, black scholars say.

“Race as a concept is not real in the biological sense, but it’s very real for our own identities,” said Whitney Pirtle, an assistant professor of sociology specializing in critical race theory at the University of California, Merced….



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