The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #7003   Message #2116887
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
01-Aug-07 - 06:20 PM
Thread Name: Origins: When the Saints Go Marching In
Subject: RE: When the Saints
Digression, but adding comment to Azizi's post.

New York Times style policy is to capitalize neither white nor black.

I have several handbooks for writers, put out for guidance of   authors, reviewers and proofreaders by publishing houses, but they are from 1985-1995 and perhaps are out-of-date.

Prentice-Hall, under 28, Capitals-
Swahili, English, etc. are capitalized.
In a note, "Usage varies for the term black(blacks) as an ethnic designation. Although it is often not capitalized, and is never capitalized in the phrase "blacks and whites," many authors regularly capitalize other use in current writing.

Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
9a- "Capitalize proper names, words used as an essential part of proper names and usually, derivatives and abbreviations of proper names." Jews, Jewish, English would be capitalized but neither black nor white.

Mirriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 1996
black, noun, 4a- a person belonging to any of various population groups having dark pigmentation of the skin. b. Afro-American.
(neither black nor white is capitalized in their entries).

Oxford English Dictionary 1971 edition; 1987 revisions.
Black, 1c. having an extremely dark skin; strictly applied to negroes and negritos, and other dark-skinned races, ...
d. of or pertaining to the negro race.
Negro capitalized was adopted in 1987 but black remained lower case.
Perhaps someone has a current Oxford and would check the most recent usage.