Q: Can you explain the reasoning behind the Journal’s recent move to capitalize the word ‘Black’ when referring to African American people or culture? And why is ‘Black’ capitalized but not ‘white’?

T.H.

Answer: The Journal, like many newspapers, follows The Associated Press stylebook, which was recently updated to capitalize the “b” in Black when referring to people in a racial, ethnic or cultural context. The revisions align with long-standing identifiers such as Latino, Asian American and Native American, and AP style is also now capitalizing the “i” in Indigenous in reference to the original inhabitants of a place. The AP said it expects to make a decision within the next month on whether to capitalize the “w” in white.

Reminder

SAM recently helped a reader who was having a problem with their plumbing, which turned out to be caused by the fact that the drain line had been clogged due to repeated flushing of baby wipes. With so many people spending more time at home nowadays, it’s important to remind folks not to do that — no, not even if the product claims to be “flushable.”

It’s not OK to flush anything other than toilet paper — not even facial tissue such as Kleenex, said Gale Ketteler, a spokeswoman for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utilities.

“If it doesn’t disintegrate under running water, it WILL clog your pipes or our pumps,” Ketteler said. That means a “big expense to everyone, not to mention the mess of raw sewage in your home or business,” she added.

In addition to what are referred to as “flushable wipes,” you shouldn’t flush diaper wipes, tampons, sanitary pads, and makeup towelettes, which can also cause sewage backups. They cannot be unblocked by hot water or soap, and should be tossed in the trash instead.

The city has set up a website with graphics and a video clip from the show “Adam Ruins Everything” to emphasize the point; you can see it at www.cityofws.org/2633/No-Wipes-in-Pipes.

The Utilities department says to “remember to only flush the four Ps: pee, poop, puke and (toilet) paper.”

Soiled paper products that cannot be flushed should be disposed of in sealed garbage bags, similar to if you were handling soiled diapers.

Thanks

One of the organizers of last Saturday’s shredding event and food-collection drive at Fries Memorial Moravian Church wrote in to thank those who participated and announce plans for another event. “Thank you to everyone for the overwhelming turnout we had this morning for our Shred Day and food collection for Sunnyside Ministry,” she wrote. “And apologies to those who waited patiently, but could not have their documents shredded because the shred truck filled to capacity well before noon! We will have another Shred Day on Sept. 12. We look forward to seeing everyone then!”

And to those who have asked, we do not currently know of any shred events in the month of July. If that changes, we will run a follow-up; the next events we have heard about are in August and September. Organizers can let us know about events at asksam@wsjournal.com.

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