Dictionary.com announces it will capitalise the word 'Black,' among other updates

  • london
  • September 1, 2020
  • Comments Off on Dictionary.com announces it will capitalise the word 'Black,' among other updates
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Dictionary.com has announced it will now capitalise the word black as part of its biggest ever update.

The move comes after months of protests in the US and nationwide against police brutality and racism.

A press release told how the site had been approached by My Black Is Beautiful, a community-first platform which aims to ignite meaningful dialogue and change around the topic of bias.

 People march in support of Jacob Blake and his family to the Kenosha County Courthouse (Getty Images)

The word black is also now a separate entry, as it refers to a person, breaking with dictionary conventions to group together words that share the same origin.

More than 15,000 revisions and 650 new entries have been added in the latest update, Dictionary.com said.

The press release statement said: “It’s a rule worth breaking. Dictionaries are not merely a linguistic exercise or academic enterprise. What are the effects of Black, referring to human beings, being grouped together with black, which can mean, among other things, “wicked”? The effects are social.

“They are psychological. They are personal. How words are entered into the dictionary—especially words concerning our personal identities—have real effects on real people in the real world.”

Speaking to ABC news John Kelly, a senior editor at Dictionary.com, said: “The work of a dictionary is more than just adding new words. It’s an ongoing effort to ensure that how we define words reflects changes in language — and life.”

Mr Kelly explained that the word “Black” does not just refer to the colour of one’s skin but also African ancestry, noting that “it is important to not lump the term into one category.”

Black Lives Matter protesters are seen during the Million People March (Getty Images)

Outlets including the Associated Press and The New York Times have previously announced their style changes for the word black when referring to race or culture.

Other words added to Dictionary.com regarding race and ethnicity include Afro-Latina, Afro-Latino, Afro-Latinx, Filipina, Filipinx, Pinay, Pinoy and Pinxy. The terms “brownface” and “whitesplain” were also added.