The Census Bureau recently announced that they would be doing away with their use of the word “Negro” as an option to describe Black Americans in their surveys. Instead, the forms will now use the terms “Black” or “African-American,” reports the Associated Press.
The adjustment will be made next year when the bureau conducts its American Community Survey. According to Census Bureau chief, Nicholas Jones research conducted by the organization’s racial statistics branch discovered that many Black Americans find the term to be “offensive and outdated.”
“This is a reflection of changing times, changing vocabularies and changing understandings of what race means in this country. For younger African-Americans, the term `Negro’ harkens back to the era when African-Americans were second-class citizens in this country,” said Matthew Sipp, sociology professor at Stanford University.
The bureau began using “Negro” to describe Black Americans in 1900, prior to that the term “Colored” was used to describe Blacks in the surveys. Back in 2010, the Census Bureau contemplated ending their use of the dated term on their forms, but decided against it, which turned out to be a big mistake, as many organizations began protesting once the forms were mailed out. The Census Bureau’s director, Robert Grove issued a public apology and expressed that the term would be removed from future surveys following those protests.
While it’s great that they are finally getting rid of the outdated term, one can’t help but wonder why it took them so long to realize that the word was dated and offensive.
What are your thoughts on the survey using “Negro” to describe Blacks? Do you find that you are unable to identify with any of the terms that the Census uses to describe Black Americans ?