Saturday, October 4, 2008
Ebony and ivory
It's 2 am and I should be working or asleep. The combination of the two can be dangerous. More than once while indexing I have fallen asleep with my finger on the back delete key, wiping out precious blocks of work. Live and don't learn.
Anyway, today's topic is capitalization. Chicago Manual of Style and most other guides instruct the writer/editor to lowercase "black" and "white" when referring to race. Fine. Couldn't agree more.
But I was working on a book of curriculum instruction today that uniformly uppercased Black and lowercased white.
Now, I have nothing against black people overall. I probably have a far less favorable impression of white people, just because I know so many more of them. (As Linus said, "I love humanity. It's people I can't stand.")
Class, when writing a book that addresses most of its content to the mistreatment of minorities in the United States -- perfectly obvious and true -- please don't uppercase Black and lowercase white. To me that editorial decision creates an undercurrent of race bias that undercuts the thesis.
I believe the twin blessings of Nepenthe and the god of Hypnos have finally visited. Signing out.