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The U.S. Census Bureau may drop the term Negro from its questionnaire by 2020.
The Census Bureau may also change some other minor aspects of the form regarding racial classification, because advocacy groups pushed for more updated categories to reflect cultural trends. The term Negro is listed alongside black and African-American.
As first reported by theGrio, many in the African-American community were shocked to learn that the term was going to be included in the 2010 census. The bureau says it kept the term because a 2000 study said a large portion of people wrote Negro as their race.
Census Bureau director Robert Groves apologized on C-Span for keeping the word after a viewer complained that such a category was “racist.”
“I am black. I did not appreciate the black, the Afro-American and Negro. That is back when I used to live in Nashville, Tennessee, when people were called Negro,” the viewer said in a phone interview. “I do not like that, that is out of character, and it really hurt my feelings … that to me is racist.”
Groves, an African-American, said on-air, “First of all, let me apologize to you on behalf of all my colleagues. The intent of every word on the race and ethnicity questions is to be as inclusive as possible so that all of us could see a word here that rings a bell for us … It was not to be offensive, and again I apologize on that. My speculation is that in 2020 that word will disappear and there are going to be other words that are going to change.”
The term Negro was common until the 1960s, when Civil Rights leaders encouraged people to use the terms “black” or “Afro-American.” In the late 1980s, Jesse Jackson encouraged the black community to use African-Americans.
But the word Negro has made a slight resurgence within the past couple of years.
In 2007, Rush Limbaugh played a song titled “Barack the Magic Negro” on his radio show, referring to Barack Obama’s first presidential race.
Additionally, Senate majority leader Harry Reid called the then-presidential candidate a “light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,” according to Limbaugh’s book “Game Change”…