Use of “Negro” on census form causes stir
The census form for 2010 features a word more often heard in 1966: Negro.
For many New York blacks, the word conjures visions of Jim Crow and segregation – even if the Census Bureau says it’s included to ensure an accurate count of the nation’s minority residents.
“It’s a bad vibe word,” said Kevin Bishop, 45, a Brooklyn salesman. “It doesn’t agree with me, doesn’t agree with my heart.”
Pamela Reese Smith, visiting the city yesterday from Rochester, said the term was outdated.
“I don’t think my ancestors would appreciate it in 2010,” said Smith, 56. “I don’t want my grandchildren being called Negroes.”
Question No. 9 on this year’s census form asks about race, with one of the answers listed as “black, African-Am. or Negro.”
Census Bureau spokesman Jack Martin said the use of “Negro” was intended as a term of inclusion.
“Many older African-Americans identified themselves that way, and many still do,” he said. “Those who identify themselves as Negroes need to be included.”
The form was also approved by Congress more than a year ago, and the word has appeared on past forms.
Readers, weigh in: Is “Negro” inappropriate or inclusive?