NOTES & VIEWS
A Note from LA Mayor Karen Bass
Ahead of my first year anniversary on Dec. 12, I’m criss-crossing Los Angeles highlighting work we’ve accomplished on homelessness, safety, business, climate and city services.
A few days ago, I focused on work we’ve done to open Los Angeles for business and made the exciting announcement that Banc of California would be relocating their headquarters to Los Angeles! I spoke with business leaders in the Valley, Leimert Park and Highland Park to hear how in our second year, City Hall can continue to be responsive to the needs of the business community.
Today, we focused on homelessness and housing. Since the first day when I declared a state of emergency, we have confronted the homelessness crisis with absolute urgency. We have brought thousands inside and will continue to improve our operations to reduce the amount of people who have fallen back into homelessness and better protect those who are housed but potentially on the verge.
Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve accomplished:
We’re housing Angelenos urgently: According to data from intergovernmental agencies, more than 21,000 Angelenos have come inside as of Nov. 30, 2023, which is thousands more than last year.
We’re building more housing, faster: accelerated the review of more than 9,000 affordable housing units. ED 1 has cut through red tape at City Hall—what used to take 6-9 months to get permits now only takes an average of 45 days.
Locking arms to deliver for Los Angeles: We have fostered a new era of cooperation and collaboration to address the number one issue facing our region with local, state and federal partners as well as intergovernmental agencies.
We will continue our new work, as a unified city, locking arms with our partners to bring as many Angelinos inside as possible and connect them to services and support. It’s a new day in Los Angeles and our momentum will not stop.
Black people deserve a capital ‘B’
'Black' should be a noun when referring to race;
Compton Herald was ahead of the curve years ago
(Re-print from Aug. 14, 2017)
By JARRETTE FELLOWS, JR.
Normally, the word “black” is an adjective — a descriptive term that modifies a noun. In journalism, "black" should be a noun when referred to as an ethnic term, i.e. Black American (a race) like African American.
To lower case the “b” is demeaning when used in a sentence referenced with other ethnic groups, for example — Asian American, Latino American, Native American … black American — the only reference lower cased in a succession of racial identifiers. This should have been corrected long ago. Certainly, in Black-owned media, Black American should have been a proper noun out of sheer pride.
The lower case spelling is accepted journalistic style by the majority of media — print, digital, and broadcast, but to the chagrin of Blacks in America, it is truly unacceptable.
Compton Herald always saw it this way
The policy always has been a discomfort with me where justification is based on the reference as “descriptive” — an adjective where black modifies “American,” as in, the American is black. It always bothered this writer in conformance to the hackneyed style of journalism news writing. It was self-deprecating to uphold a norm in which I referred to myself and ethnic group in the lower case.
Publishing my own print mediums through the years enabled me to break with standard tradition, capitalizing the “B” in Black when referring to the race. I didn’t care who disagreed with it. This was going to be my policy.
The proper noun Black American or plural noun Blacks replaced “colored,” and Negro American within the Black community as a racial distinction in the 1960s, and today is used interchangeably with African American. This should have been embraced long ago by the top three journalism bibles of the craft — Associated Press, Chicago, and Oxford style guides — for proper usage by journalists when referring to an ethnic group in print.
Equitable policy style
By the same token, the policy is adopted for the Herald when referring to White American, as well. The “W” is always capitalized. Caucasian, like Negro or colored, is also rarely used in print or broadcast journalism.
Some African American-owned publications — but not all — use the same policy when referring to Black Americans, but lowercase the “w” in White-American or Whites. This is a double standard along purely racial lines that should be eradicated.
Ultimately, the style guides AP, Chicago, Oxford, and all the others, including the dictionaries Merriam-Webster, Cambridge, Oxford, and Free Dictionary should adopt this editorial policy. Additionally, it would also serve to balance the overall negative connotation for black.
Consider the following negative references as an adjective:
“His face was black with rage; the play was a black intrigue, dirty, soiled hands black with grime, a wicked black deed, a black mark for being late, black despair, black propaganda, black humor, sullen black resentment filled his heart, Black Friday, “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” connected with the devil; black magic, the black arts.”