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The Forum

Here we explore topics related to writing and grammar from time to time; and we encourage you to send us your feedback, contributions, and suggestions for topics to explore.


The major stylebooks, which are used by most publications nationwide, have all caught up with the MCPS editorial style! This includes the venerable Chicago Manual of Style, The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, the Associated Press Stylebook, and many news organizations, led by The New York Times. This has come to pass mainly because of the current cultural climate that is so full of tragedy and pain spurred by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

They have changed from using black (lowercase “b”) to using Black, when referring to a person’s race or ethnicity. This also applies to White (Exception: the AP still uses lowercase "white."). We have been showing that level of respect for race for many years now.

However, many African Americans, including Rev. Jesse Jackson, still prefer to use the aforesaid term (African American) and not use Black at all. So, the debate continues.

What is certain: Black and White should be capitalized when used in relation to a person’s race.
       Blacks and other people of color make up the majority of our members.
       Freedom of expression is a position supported by both Blacks and Whites.

When referring to colors, black and white should be lowercase. For example:
      The balloons were red, yellow, black, and white.
      Bennie painted her puppets purple, white, black, and orange.


Send comments and suggestions to Donna M. Marks or call the Editorial Help Desk at 301-517-8139.

Contact the Editorial Help Desk at
Donna_M_Marks@mcpsmd.org or 301-517-8139.