Monday, 7 April 2008

Why Whites Insist hat the Word "Black" Not Be Capitalized

Some whites express that they are terribly offended by the capitalization of the word "Black". This is an example of their color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior.

While we can only speculate based on the information at hand why the capitalization of the word "Black" offends them so, I suspect it is because they think that "Black" is a merely a skin color and not an ethnic group. Of course, we regularly capitalize the words "Irish" and "Hispanic" and "Italian" because we recognize that the names of ethnic groups should be capitalized.

However, because Blacks were brought to the United States and so many other countries as slaves, we don't know the individual African countries from which we came, otherwise we could refer to ourselves as "Angolans", and that would of course be capitalized.

The term "African-American" is capitalized, however many Black people are not American, although most of us are African.

During American slavery and slavery elsewhere, it was more important to whites to distinguish us from themselves, by referring to the fact that our skin was darker, than it was to permit us to maintain a knowledge of our specific origins in African countries. They stole this knowledge from us as part of the enforcement of slavery.

Now, having stolen from us the African country name that would be capitalized when referring to our origins, they ALSO want to take advantage of that historic abomination to deny many of us the right to capitalize the ethnic name which we carried for decades, before the term "African-American" came into vogue.

Finally, I suspect that capitalizing the word "Black" means that we are a people, a political group, however subjugated we may be, rather than just a skin color, and that's what offends some whites. When "Black" is not capitalized, it conforms to the idea that there is a "black race" that is fundamentally biologically different from the "white race", biologically in significant ways, ways other than skin color. When Black is capitalized, it is an assertion that "Black" is really a different political and social identity rather than a biologically different sub-genus of the human species.

Whites insist that we must be considered different, but it must be based on our skin color, not based on a common identity, which is something they find terribly threatening and arrogant of us. Capitalizing the word "Black" implies and creates the threat of a Black political and social force. Fearing this, whites insist upon NOT capitalizing the word "Black", lest they admit the existence of social and political forces that they do not understand and cannot control.

These, I believe, are some of the color-aroused ideational, emotional and behavioral aspects of whites' insistence that we not capitalize the word "Black" and that they will not capitalize the word "Black."

4 comments:

DP said...

Francis, thanks for the link love.

I agree that Black as it's used in America is a proper noun referring to an ethnic group. In other words it should be capitalized. The discussion going on in the Afrosphere about this issue has given us some different perspectives to consider, and you know, I'm starting to buy into your theory of color aroused ideation. Any way you look at this it's pretty much irrational to not capitalize the word when it refers to an ethnic grouping. At the least, if the editorial board refuses, then use African-American in those instances where multiple ethnic groups are referred to.

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

Thanks for bringing up this issue, DP, and you're welcomed for the link love.

Whites' opposition to capitalizing the word "Black" is clearly color-aroused. It IS irrational and can only be understood when you study their ideation toward Blacks, the emotions that this ideation engenders, and the color-aroused behavior that is engendered by this color-aroused ideation and emotion.

When we understand the specific fears, envies, jealousies, love and hate that motivate whites' specific irrational behaviors, it becomes more feasible confront them in the most productive ways possible. Of course, each situation and each white person is different and so this requires a lot of close observation and analysis, group reflection and as well as reality testing.

But, using the color-arousal analysis, we no longer have to live as unwelcome visitors in a white ideational and emotional fantasy world. We begin to construct our own world rationally, based on our own observations, not founded on whites' rationalizations and self-serving fallacies.

D said...

thanks for writing this piece. do you know of any other articles or publications that discuss Black as a cultural/national identity?

mrswhetstone said...

I see your point on capitalizing the word "Black", however, I notice you don't agree that the same rules apply to "White". Why not?