I’ve seen black and white sometimes capitalized in descriptions of people, and sometimes not. Is there a rule about this?
It’s a matter of style, not a fixed rule. Neither of the two major style guides, the Chicago Manual of Style or the Associated Press Stylebook, recommend capitalizing “black” or “white” when referring to race. However, some publications do. Here’s a blog poston the subject.
“Black” and “white” aren’t races, “African” or “Caucasian” are.
“African” isn’t a race either, in any sense. “Black” and “white” are racial groupings in the social sense of race, even if they don’t effectively exist in a genetic sense at a global scale.