In this study the term “Black” is used to mean all peoples of African descent. People of mixed African and European descent come under this heading since they generally face the same problem as other Blacks in the United States and other Western nations. The term is capitalized because it refers to a specific population, the peoples historically connected by the Black diaspora.
In recent years the term “White” has taken on a similar meaning, referring to people of European descent. We now find “White” used in books, conferences, and college courses that specifically focus on a field called White studies. I capitalize the term when it designates or implies an ethnic population, but not in instances where the “color line” is the primary connotation (as in “white supremacy,” “white racism,” “white hegemony” and so on). In such value-oriented fields as history, sociology, and art, labels become quickly outmoded; the usages in this book reflect current self-definition within groups as well as my own preferences.