U.S. Census Bureau Drops 'Negro' From Surveys

Despite being racist, inflammatory and insulting, the word “Negro” remains on federal forms.

But NPR reports that the White House may soon decide to keep it on documents or dismiss it.



Back in the early 1900s, “negro” was considered a modern term that could be used to classify people of African descent for the country’s census. But as time progressed, the word (rightfully so, might I add) was deemed nothing short of offensive.

So why (more than a century later) is our United States government struggling with banning the term once and for all?

Well in 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that it would drop use of the word from its documents and other surveys. In 2014, the Army made a similar decision regarding use of the term on its official document that outlined its equal opportunity policy. In 2016, then-president Barack Obama replaced the word “Negro” with “African American.” It was the law.

“Negro” is still up for fair use on federal forms today. In fact, the term “can be used if desired.”

Currently, there is a proposal that serves as a means of endorsing the term’s removal. In it, a recently formed group of federal experts cited concerns of survey participants finding the term “outdated” or “offensive.”

The NAACP, The Urban League and other civil rights groups, have also advocated for the term’s dismissal on federal forms.

“There is a very clear consensus that the obsolete term ‘Negro’ should be eliminated,” said Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, in a written statement sent to NPR in response to the White House’s delayed announcement. “We urge the administration to proceed immediately, keeping the fairness and accuracy of the census at the forefront of concern.”

Which federal forms include the word remain unclear, but several state governments, schools and hospitals still allow use of “Negro” on its forms.

Currently, the Trump administration is considering a proposal that will remove the word from federal forms. The administration will also review the use of “Far East,” which is currently meant to described those of Asian descent.

 

 



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