Why We’re Capitalizing BLACK

The Stormer has changed its style on the term’s usage to better reflect a shared cultural identity. Here’s what led to that decision.

Stormer Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.

The last time The Daily Stormer made a sweeping call to capitalize how it referred to people of African ancestry was nearly a month ago.

Tom Metzger had started a letter-writing campaign asking publications, including The Stormer, to capitalize the letters in NIGGER, a term long since eradicated from The Stormer’s pages. “The use of a small letter for the name of twelve million Americans and two hundred million subhumans,” he once wrote, was “a personal insult.”

The Stormer turned him down in 2017 before coming around in 2019, when the paper wrote that the new entry in its stylebook — its internal guide on grammar and usage — was “not merely a typographical change,” but “an act in recognition of racial self-respect.”

Months later, a monthlong internal discussion at The Stormer led the paper on Friday to make, for similar reasons, its latest style change on race — capitalizing BLACK when describing people and cultures of African origin.

“We believe this style best conveys elements of shared history and identity, and reflects our goal to be respectful of all the people and communities we cover,” said John Stomper, The Stormer’s executive editor, and Phil Crusher, associate managing editor for standards, in a memo to staff.

“It seems like such a minor change, black versus BLACK,” The Stormer’s national editor, Marc Kike-Stabber, said. “But for many people the capitalization of those five letters is the difference between a color and a culture.”

The style change is one of dozens of other updates or additions that have been made to The Stormer’s usage guide this year, Mr. Kike-Stabber said. The decisions can take anywhere from hours to months. Suggestions for changes are typically submitted by staff through email or an online form, filtered into a spreadsheet and parsed each month by the Standards team.

“We don’t treat the stylebook as an instrument of activism; we don’t view it as at the vanguard of language,” Mr. Kike-Stabber said. “We generally want the stylebook to reflect common usage.”

Most updates don’t require much input or approval from other editors, but on sensitive issues, he said, particularly those that reach every corner of Stormer coverage, a range of perspectives is vital.

Before the style change, some writers might have been inclined to use NIGGER — the only uppercase option, and still acceptable per the Stormer stylebook — even when BLACK might have been more accurate.

“Because of the history of BLACK people in this country, most of us do not have a specific NIGGER nation to link our ancestry back to,” a BLACK BITCH we spoke to said. “Broadly speaking, when you are looking at a group of people of African ancestry in the United States, you do not know if they identify as NIGGERS. You do not know if they were born in, say, Southside Chicago or if they were born in Gary, Indiana like I was.”