I was looking through Maya Angelou's "On the Pulse of Morning", and noticed that there's an interesting use of capitalization in the poem. (I checked multiple version to make sure that this was consistently used and not just one transcription's weirdness.)
For instance, the words "Rock", "River", and "Tree" are capitalized throughout the poem:
A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed
But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully
Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song
This I interpreted as these three things being the main theme of the poem, and so worthy of capitalization. But then I came to this stanza:
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.
Every single person here (such as Gay, Straight, Teacher) is capitalized except for "privileged" and "homeless". I found this odd; why would these two specifically be not capitalized? Sure, words like Asian, Muslim, Irish usually get capitalized... but "teacher", "preacher", "gay", "straight" etc. don't. Once you're capitalizing some of these words, why not all of them?
Why are these two words in particular not capitalized, and how does it tie in to how capitalization is used in the poem as a whole?