On this Juneteenth, I thought I’d share two things I’ve just learned:
1. It’s not ok to use the word “slave.” It’s dehumanizing. We should use “enslaved” instead. Watch the video with Ta-Nehisi Coates and Oprah to understand why better.
2. It’s time we start using a capital B for Black:
…Temple University journalism professor Lori L. Tharps had this to say: “When speaking of a culture, ethnicity or group of people, the name should be capitalized. Black with a capital B refers to people of the African diaspora. Lowercase black is simply a color.”
Tharps’s argument highlights the fact that Black people have a common cultural identity of history, art, community, and shared experiences. Most Black Americans lack a specific geographic identity, as they are unable to conclusively trace roots back to a specific country of origin due to enslavement. That lack of shared geography is actually part of what binds Black people together. And while “African American” is a fine terminology choice, it is sometimes considered inadequately representative by Black Americans with recent Caribbean or British lineage, for example, or those who have recently emigrated to the United States from Africa.