case In Point
Nine days ago today, the Associated Press decided that, when referring to the word black, it would be capitalized if the usage pertained to ethnicity. Most educated people of the world know that black is not an ethnicity. It is scientifically a word that means absence of color. Keeping this decision at the forefront of decisions of the highest importance, the Executives of the AP decided to make another earth shattering decision regarding the color white, stating that when this word refers to ethnicity, it will remain in lower case. I find it imperative to inform these executives (and others of their ilk) that, as black is not an ethnicity, neither is white. Both of these words are used to represent colors and have been used in this manner for many years.
The Greeks began using the word black in 6 B.C. and in 1666, Isaac Newton defined white as the scattered combination of the colors red, blue and green. (This is a very brief description of Newton's definition and findings.)
Colors have been and are used to describe many things, including skin color. Unfortunately, skin color has been used to define ethnicity. When I went to school, yellow defined Asians, red referred to Indians, white meant Caucasians, black designated Africans. Italians were said to have olive skin. Back then, there was the complication of Indians; those in the U.S. (now known as Native Americans) and those from India.
I think that it is time to digitize the colors, using the placement of letters in our alphabet. Africans will now be 2-12-1-3-11. Caucasians will be 23-8-9-20-5 and so forth. In this way, no one can argue about upper or lower case!
- D A Korczynski Hennessy