Prior to 2010, there was a push within the US Census Bureau to get rid of the term “negro” as a racial identifier choice on all upcoming surveys. At the time, many thought the decision was an obvious formality, but after much debate, the powers that be actually decided to keep it in. The thought process was that rural residents of color in the South might actually still self-identify with the term more than any other choices they may have been given.

Three years later, the matter has once again come up, but now, it seems the Bureau is going to make a different decision. According to ABC News, the agency announced this week that “negro” has officially been stricken from all future surveys. Respondents will be allowed to choose either “African-American” or “black” under race. The upcoming 2013 American Community Surey will reflect the change in language, as will all future items.

The term “negro” was first added to the US Census in 1900. Over the past two decades or so, many petitioned the US Census Bureau to do research on whether the African-American community was offended by such language, but nothing ever got accomplished. So, we still have no idea whether the initial theorem that some people might prefer “negro” has some validity to it or is completely off base.

It’s highly unlikely anyone will put up any kind of fuss about the alterations, but if they do, we’ll let you know.

image credit: Susan Montgomery



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