Dear Census Bureau, In case you didn’t receive the memo…

Posted: March 20, 2010 in ethnic, fight the hate
Tags: , , ,

U.S. Census Bureau

I just received the short 2010 Census form which has only 10 questions to complete.  The form has a Hispanic origin section, which is broken down to Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban and other Hispanic/Latino or Spanish Origin. This section also includes a fill-in section, where you can give your Latino country a shout out!

About 20 years ago, a census taker asked my sister and I,  what race/ethnicity did we consider ourselves? At that time, we did not understand the differences between Spanish, Latino or Hispanic, so we called ourselves Spanish-American.  Growing up, my family never addressed themselves as Latinos or Hispanics. We actually referred to ourselves as Spanish, because that is what my family saw themselves as when they were living in Latin America.

To my surprised, the term Negro was listed in the survey alongside Black and African-American. The term Negro is still used in the Spanish and Portuguese language since it means the color black and a person who is black. At one time the terms were also commonly used in the U.S. until the American Civil Rights movement of the 1950-1960’s. During that period, African-American leaders no longer wanted this word used because of its association with slavery, segregation and discrimination.  This term is still used for some older organizations such as the United Negro College Fund.

The Census Bureau reported that Negro was added to the surveys because the older generation still identify themselves with that word.

However, if the survey takers were in their 20’s during that time period (like my American grandparents were), they would be at least 70 + years old now. I have never heard my grandparents or other people of that age group use that term.

Dear Census Bureau,

In case you didn’t receive the memo, negro is no longer used in this country. Your agency should have been on top of their game, especially after spending billions of taxpayer dollars to create the surveys. So your statement is weak. How about next time adding gringo alongside white?



P.S. What do you think of the Census’ decision to use Negro?

  1. cindy says:

    Yeah, I definitely think they need to get rid of “Negro”. By now it is totally unnecessary.

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