A Note on Usage

Starting in Fall 2020, we adopted a new style regarding the capitalization of racial identities. To be specific, we are persuaded by the arguments of Nell Irvin Painter and Kwame Anthony Appiah that “White” as well as “Black” should be capitalized when the terms are used to refer to racial groups.

As Appiah says: “Black and White are both historically created racial identities — and whatever rule applies to one should apply to the other.” Painter’s makes a similar argument: “in terms of racial identity, White Americans have had the choice of being something vague, something unraced and separate from race. A capitalized ‘White’ challenges that freedom, by unmasking ‘Whiteness’ as an American racial identity as historically important as ‘Blackness’ — which it certainly is.”