published Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

U.S. uses 'Negro' on new census forms

Audio clip

Bernie Miller

The U.S. Bureau of Census is adding such Internet tools as Twitter and Facebook this year to get the word out to Americans who will fill out the census in April.

But the 2010 census forms mailed out last week still include the term "Negro" as an option for respondents to choose for their ethnic identity, which some contend is outdated and could be confusing or offensive.

Over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apologized for a quotation attributed to him in a new book on the 2008 campaign. In the quote, he said people like Barack Obama because he had "no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

Dr. Bernie Miller, pastor of the New Covenant Fellowship Church in Chattanooga and chairman the U.S. Census Bureau's African American Advisory Committee, said the use of the "Negro" term hearkens back to an earlier, more segregated time in America.

Census Bureau Statement on 2010 Census Race Question

A test embedded in the 2010 Census will measure the effect of removing the term "Negro" on reports about a person’s racial identity. The results will be used to inform design changes for future surveys and the 2020 Census. In the 2000 Census, more than 50,000 persons chose to write down explicitly that they identified themselves as “Negro.”

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND:

The Census Bureau included the term “Negro” because testing prior to Census 2000 indicated that numbers of respondents self-identified with this term. Census 2000 data showed that 56,175 respondents wrote in the term "Negro" in response to the question on race, even though the term was included in the category label for a checkbox. This does not include the unknown numbers of respondents who may have checked the box “Black, African Am., or Negro” because of the presence of the “Negro” identifier.

Research in the 2000s did not include studies of the effect of dropping “Negro” from the list “Black, African Am., or Negro” on responses. Such research is important to avoid unanticipated consequences of changing question wording on the outcome of a census. As stated above, this research will be conducted as part of the 2010 decennial census.

What the census form asks

* Question 9 of the 2010 census form asks persons to self identify their race

* Among the 14 check boxes respondents may select are "black, African-American or Negro."

"To me, the term 'Negro' carries negative connotations because it is so closely related to the 'N' word that I dare not utter," he said. "Negro does remind me of the Jim Crow era, but my main concern is a complete count of every "black, Caribbean, Haitian, Negro, African and African-American" in the upcoming census."

Census officials say they are simply trying to make sure they get the best count and not exclude blacks who might not identify with the term "black" or "African-American," which are also listed as ethnic choices on the census form.

In the last census count a decade ago, 56,175 respondents wrote in the term "Negro" in response to the question of race, even though the term was included in the category label for a check box, according to Census Bureau spokeswoman Catherine Crusan.

State Rep. Tommie Brown, D-Chattanooga, a 75-year-old retired University of Tennessee at Chattanooga professor who is a member of the Tennessee Legislative Black Caucus, said she witnessed first hand the evolution of her racial identity from "colored" to "Negro" to "black" to "African-American."

"I'm not that sensitive about the term 'Negro' that it offends me," she said. "I'm more interested in removing any thing that would hinder an accurate counting of our black population in the 2010 census. That is what we need to most concerned about."

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget defines the racial category of black or African-American as "a person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa," and further stipulates that terms such as "Haitian" or "Negro" can be used in addition to "black or African-American."

At the urging of Dr. Miller's advisory committee, the census bureau began a test this month with a new questionnaire that doesn't use the term "Negro."

"We're glad that they are at least looking at some changes," Dr. Miller said.

The results of the test on racial identity, which also are testing different options for Hispanic persons to identify their race, will be used to inform design changes for future surveys and the 2020 census, Ms. Crusan said.

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KWVeteran said...

"To me, the term 'Negro' carries negative connotations because it is so closely related to the 'N' word that I dare not utter," he said. "Negro does remind me of the Jim Crow era, but my main concern is a complete count of every "black, Caribbean, Haitian, Negro, African and African-American" in the upcoming census."

The guy really goes entirely out of his way to be offended. And among his community, the "utttering" of "that" word is everyday common practice.

January 12, 2010 at 7:51 a.m.

Wait a minute, the "Hispanic race"? What is that? If she means the folks born in Mexico, Central and South America of Spanish and/or Indigenous origins that is one thing. The Indigenous peoples are identified as being of a separate race than the people of Spanish blood or a mix of Spanish, Black, Jewish, French, etc.

Last I checked the definition of the races on earth, there were only these: The Caucasoid (under which the Spaniards would be counted), the Negroid, and the Mongoloid. These terms may not be politically correct today, yet they describe the three main racial groups we all descend from. Ethnic groups are another designation altogether. Oh and by the way, we ALL carry the same DNA from common ancestors on earth. Our blood runs red in all of us. We are one. The human race.

January 12, 2010 at 8:43 a.m.
sideviews said...

If Tommie Brown isn't offended by Negro, I won't be either. But it does sound like a throwback to an earlier, not-so-happy era of racial differences.

January 12, 2010 at 8:46 p.m.
AP said...

.

Contrary to common assumption -- the terms "Black" and "African-American" DO NOT MEAN THE SAME THING !!!!!!

AAs & BAs: The KEY difference between these TWO (2) groups ...

The African-Americans (AAs) are an ETHNIC grouping of people that is comprised ONLY of:

The 'Descendants-Of-The-Survivors' of the chattel-slavery system that took place on the 'continental' United States of America during the antebellum era of its history.

Most (+70%) -- although not all -- of the people who are born to two (2) AA parents are found to have an ancestral "racial" lineage that includes varying amounts of African (45-55%), Amerindian (+25%) and also European (+20-30%) bloodlines -- that were both admixed into and "continually remained" within the lineage of their families.

(Meaning they are of the Mixed-Race category that is referred to as "Multi-Generational Multiracially-Mixed" or as 'MGM-Mixed' racially-admixed ancestral lineage)

````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````

The Black Americans (BAs) are a RACE grouping of people that consists ONLY of:

The 'Volitional Immigrants' that are from nations that are found all over the world and who are both Fully of the Black Race group and who are also NOT the descendants-of-the-survivors of the chattel slavery system that was once found on the continental United States of America.

As noted, the BAs are a RACE group and are seen as being of a fully-Black lineage.

````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=Al5eeK2CFwcv4rD5U5qzvEfty6IX?qid=20070527201834AAIhzhM&show=7#profile-info-CiC2JY9Maa

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AiebDu.tSshJzQ0wS5fMp7jty6IX?qid=20070623205206AANUzPN&show=7#profile-info-q1hdwifgaa

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/1034

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/3331

http://www.jstor.org/pss/1290008?cookieSet=1

http://boards.mulatto.org/post/show_single_post?pid=35284580&postcount=4

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/1399

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AjwuxYj8agKY7yGgqaJ7i.Xty6IX?qid=20070704121228AA7ZMsA&show=7#profile-info-ezQwEaJLaa

.

February 28, 2010 at 5:10 a.m.
boostergold said...

I hope the census people have a good insurance agency system in place. There are going to be a lot of angry folks out there for this.

September 29, 2010 at 6:23 p.m.
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