AP Stylebook Updated to Capitalize ‘Black’ and ‘Indigenous’

“These changes align with long-standing capitalization of other racial and ethnic identifiers,” the AP Stylebook Twitter account says

AP Stylebook guide
AP Stylebook

The Associated Press Stylebook updated its guidance on Friday for race-related coverage to capitalize “Black” when used “in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense” and “Indigenous” when referring to “original inhabitants of a place.”

“These changes align with long-standing capitalization of other racial and ethnic identifiers such as Latino, Asian American and Native American,” the AP Stylebook Twitter account wrote.

The Stylebook entry for “Black” also states that the capitalization of Black “recognizes that language has evolved, along with the common understanding that especially in the United States, the term reflects a shared identity and culture rather than a skin color alone.”

As for whether “white” is also to be capitalized, the Stylebook said it would come to a decision “within a month.”

The changes come shortly after major news outlets around the country have also updated their newsroom style guides to capitalize Black. (TheWrap, which follows AP style rules, will also be capitalizing the terms in its stories going forward.)

On Thursday, CNN staff members were informed that the network, effective immediately, would be capitalizing both “Black” and “White” when referring to racial or ethnic identity. Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times also updated its style guide to capitalizing “Black” when referring to members of the African diaspora. NBC News, MSNBC, BuzzFeed, USA Today and its 260 affiliated local papers and the McClatchy-owned papers have also done so.

View the Stylebook’s complete guidance on race-related coverage here.