American journalists look to the Associated Press as the arbiter of language. Most newsrooms don’t have the resources to develop their own style manuals, so the influence of AP’s guidance stretches far beyond its own staff.
Friday’s updated entries on race-related issues are an acknowledgment of the topic’s growing prominence in American journalism. This new guidance offers journalists clarity and precision as they frame the news for their audiences.
Two things jumped out at me: AP finally agrees that “hyphenated Americans” are a relic. And, when an incident is racist, journalists should say so.
It’s seemingly small but significant that AP is eliminating the hyphenated American. The entry for dual heritage says to drop the hyphen in such terms as African American and Asian American. The hyphen dates to the 19th century as a way to distinguish immigrants as “other” and has been a common microaggression for more than a century.
When a subject’s heritage is relevant, it’s important to respect the source’s preference. Someone who is Asian American might be more accurately described as Chinese American. Someone who is black might want to be identified as Haitian Canadian.
Read more here: https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2019/ap-stylebook-update-its-ok-to-call-something-racist-when-its-racist/