Should “white” be capitalized?

I was recently attacked, at American Renaissance, for not capitalizing “white” in the context of the white race.  Here is the thread in question:

Me: Here’s a bizarre twist:  The “mainstream media” is reporting this!  I saw it on Yahoo news. But don’t hold your breath and expect them to report black on white mayhem.  After all, a profanity-laced comment by a celebrity is far more important than a few thousand white and Asian lives ruined due to black violence.

Anon: Capitalize White if you are going to capitalize “Asian”.

Me: “Asian” means a person from the continent of Asia.  So, even though we often use the term in a more narrow sense, it has become convention to capitalize the word.  “White”, “black” and “brown”, on the other hand, are colors.  Colors are not capitalized, so the convention is to use lower-case even for ethnicities that derive their names from those colors.  If I were to capitalize “white”, then I’d also have to capitalize “black”.  Yet I don’t see you insisting that I capitalize “black”, nor is it considered correct to capitalize “brown” when referring to Mexicans, Indians etc.

Juggernaut: The term “brown” is not used by the media to refer to a people group because it is considered demeaning.  It is either “Hispanic” or “Mexican-American.”  Both capitalized.  I doubt a single media outlet anywhere allows the term “brown” to be used in reference to Hispanics.

“African-American” is the preferred term for blacks in the media.  I have seen nothing else used in higher education.  Note the capitalization.

The term “Indian” is rarely used, the pc term is “Native-American,” which the media use solely.  I doubt there’s a single style book left that suggests “Indian” be used instead of  Native American .  Ditto higher education.   Always capitalized.

“white” (uncapitalized) is used by the media to demean Whites as a people group.  Please start capitalizing it.  The word “Jewish” used in reference to people is never left uncapitalized.

The style manuals of  the American Psychological Association, the venerable Chicago Manual of Style, and the University of Pittsburgh all say to capitalize White.

Me: I see your point.  But I also notice that you don’t capitalize “blacks”.  I’m looking for consistency.

The general consensus, in the wider world of English language “authorities” seems to support what I wrote.  For example, this is from the Helium guidelines:

RACE

Capitalize names of races (African-American, Caucasian, Asian, Native American), but do not capitalize “black” or “white” when referring to race. See also Sensitivities (page 12).

Obviously, “African-American” is the P.C. substitute for the more accurate “Negro”; we wouldn’t describe the president of Ghana as “African-American.  “Negro”, according to this, should be capitalized.  Helium’s guidelines are based upon those of the Associated Press, which state that capitalization is to be used for…

ethnic groups:
The preferred usage for African Americans is “black.” The term is not capitalized.
Preferred usage for Caucasians is “white,” also not capitalized.
Preferred usage for Asian people is “Asian,” capitalized. Please note that in British usage the term applies only to people of the Indian Subcontinent.
“American Indian,” capitalized with no hyphen, is preferred over “Native American.”

However, other sources are unclear about this.  For example:

Capitalize the names of religions, races, and nationalities

Example:
Iranian (nationality)
African-American (race)
Muslim (religion)

So, if we’re using the word “white”, or “black” as the name of a race, then perhaps it should be capitalized.  I would add that even if “white” is not being used to describe a race, but an ethnic group (such as American Whites), it would still be capitalized.  After all, as Juggernaut points out, “Jewish” is always capitalized.  Similarly, “Gypsy” and “Roma” are capitalized because it is an established ethnic group.  “Jewish” is capitalized not only by virtue of being an established ethnic group, but also because Jews originally came from “Judea”, which was a (capitalized) nation.  “Asians” come from “Asia”, which is a (capitalized) continent.  Whites come, primarily, from Europe – and “European” is capitalized just like “Asian”.  Blacks come, primarily, from Africa – and “African” is also capitalized.

We live in a transitional era where “white” does not exactly refer to race, nor does it exactly refer to an ethnic group.  “White” can be either a description or the name of a race, depending on context and who is doing the writing.  In our era, whites are a people in the making, as I have pointed out elsewhere.  Since “white” and “black” can mean many things during this transition, there is much confusion.

I think consistency is important.  So, if we are to capitalize “White”, we should also capitalize “Black”.  By bringing them to the New World as slaves, early Americans began the formation of a new ethnicity:  The American Black ethnicity.  With the founding of America, two new nations were conceived.  Some would say more.

As it stands, whether to capitalize “white” and “black” should be up to individual discretion.  Thus far, I have chosen to use lower-case.  If it makes my fellow pro-whites happy, I would gladly switch to upper-case.  However, if I do so, I’ll be using upper-case for “black” as well.  I don’t see the point in getting into a “capitalization war” where people capitalize only their own race; that would be silly.

About jewamongyou

I am a paleolibertarian Jew who is also a race-realist. My opinions are often out of the mainstream and often considered "odd" but are they incorrect? Feel free to set me right if you believe so!
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15 Responses to Should “white” be capitalized?

  1. countenance says:

    Capital W or lower-case w? Seems like some real news needs to happen so we can stop bickering about a bunch of useless things in AR.

  2. On a separate note, I finally got that moderate-lefty to concede to my HBD argument you were asking about.

    Today, he told me that, after looking at all of the data I showed him, it is probably not a good idea to allow immigrants to come to the US from countries outside of western Europe or east Asia.

    I think that is his obfuscated way of conceding to the HBD argument.

    • jewamongyou says:

      Thank goodness for small victories. The problem with lefties is that they almost always revert to their old attitudes due to the constant barrage of propaganda. So you have to keep on convincing them of the same things over and over again.

  3. Canspeccy says:

    Yes, for goodness sake don’t become politically correct. It seems a sure sign of a bogus argument when you have to bully your opponent about spellings and vocabulary. What matters is the intent. If a white person speak of white persons they are clearly not intending to be derogatory. And it is pretty meaningless to speak of whites as being a race. Race refers to a more or less genetically isolated interbreeding population, or gene pool. White people are perhaps all of one subgroup of races, but they are highly diverse, as are any pigmentation group. We have 600 first nations in Canada, most of which are divided among multiple bands, all of whom are more or less brown.

    To think usefully about human biodiversity, it is necessary to understand that since humans have for nearly all of their history lived as territorially based clans, tribes or nations, they are divided into a great many races. And even within nations, or clans, it can be appropriate in some circumstances to differentiate among subgroups, i.e., races. The Scotch, the Welsh, the Irish and the English are all of mainly Celtic extraction. But due to geographic separation, the gene pool of each nation is distinct. Even between Edinburgh and Glasgow, or London and Birmingham there are genetic differences between the indigenous populations.

    In fact, traveling around any country that has not become a fully developed multi-ethnic melting pot you can see differences in facial features from region to region. Many people with Danish Viking features — dark hair, high cheekbones — in SouthEast England, for example, blue-eyed blond people of a different Viking tribe — reminiscent of Icelanders — in North eastern Scotland. And in parts of my native Devon, some who are clearly neanderthals.

  4. I wouldn’t say this is useless. It is something, however, that I have probably thought too much about. My policy:

    When used to describe an ethnic group, “White” should always be capitalized. (I forget to do this all the time, probably because I’m not as good a pro-White formalist distributist ethnopluralist heathen as I wish I were.)

    When used secondhand, i.e., when quoting or paraphrasing someone who doesn’t properly distinguish between race and ethnicity, “white” should be left in lower case. (Example of practical usage: You know the “kill whitey!” ethic is used to justify violence against Arabs, Latin Americans, and South Asians all the time, but those folks hardly ever identify as White.)

    When used to describe a race, “white” should be capitalized, and spelled C-a-u-c-a-s-o-i-d. I’m quite serious about this, but not touchy. I don’t mind if nobody else writes this way, but I keep telling them to anyway.

    As to “B/black”, I suppose it should be capitalized along the above grounds. If referring broadly to sub-Saharan Africans, it could be left lower-case, since it is referring to a two-great-race cluster (Capoid and Congoid groups). If it is referring to mainly Congoid, often biracial Americans, it should probably be capitalized.

  5. destructure says:

    I never knew about the capital wars until a fellow on GW’s old blog accused me of not capitalizing “jewish” to take a cheap shot at Jews. I never capitalized my username but I’d never thought about the other stuff before then. I actually had to sit down and try to think of what I usually do. I usually capitalize nationalities and ethnicities but not so much colors or religion. Though I do capitalize religion sometimes.

    I do. however, think your critics do have a legitimate gripe. Not against you but against the radicals. When you read “anti racist” articles and comments it’s pretty obvious they make a point of capitalizing everyone whether it’s nationality, ethnicity, color, religion, etc. And then deliberately NOT capitalizing “white”. They’re just doing it to be dicks. But, yeah, it’s silly.

  6. I am surprised nobody has brought HBD Chick into this argument.

  7. bannister says:

    Great article – I’ve actually been thinking about this question myself lately.

    Yes, I think White should be capitalized- as should Black.

    Why? As a form of political activism. Words matter. How we see ourselves matters. And what message does it send to young Whites who see Asian, Hispanic and African American capitalized – but not “white”?

    As you astutely pointed out, we are living in “transitional times.” The rules are changing. Whites never capitalized “white” before because they never needed to. Now they do. As an affirmation of IDENTITY.

    It’s pretty common to see people capitalize “White” on a site like Amren. But one day, I saw it capitalized on CNN! It kind of gave me hope. It’s kind of like sending out a message to the other readers.

    As an added bonus, it may also piss off some Lefties (you know, the ones who utilize spellings like “womyn” and “Amerikkka”) and who knows? Maybe one day, writers in the mainstream media might actually start using it too.

    Just my 2 cents.

  8. Georgia Resident says:

    Well, since “White” and “Black” refer, for all intents and purposes, to ethnic groups, I’m in favor of capitalization as a technical point. But it’s not something that I get bent out of shape over, either. I’ve been reading your blog for months, and I didn’t notice the “capitalization issue” until this post.

  9. Georgia Resident says:

    Plus, looking over comments I’ve posted, I’ve realized that I rather regularly forget to capitalize “White” and “Black”, but not “Asian” and “Jewish”. I suppose this means I’m subconsciously a Jewish-Asian supremacist. This is especially surprising to me, since I’m neither Jewish nor Asian.

  10. a.n.animus says:

    I try to consistently capitalize White and Black when referring to races, even though I’m never entirely sure what White and Black mean as races in any kind of objective sense. Why? Courtesy and respect. I also capitalize Jew and Gentile. Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jain, etc. also get capitalized.

    People who deliberately lowercase the race or religion of their “opponents” come off as childish to me.

    I may be a racist, but I don’t hate humans on account of their race, so all races get capitalized, as do dog breeds. Kind of the same thing, IMO…

  11. Unamused says:

    I capitalized “white” for a while, on principle, but it just looked so weird I had to stop (and change them back). You know how people accuse us of being “obsessed with racial purity” etc. etc.? The sentences almost felt that way!

    “Here’s what I think about White people…” Weird.

  12. Anon says:

    I generally don’t capitalize race, or other things that should be capitalized on occasion.

  13. When I capitalize “White”, I am generally referring to monarchist Russians.

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