Question #9 Causes Uproar, Asks For Citizens To Pick 'Black,' 'African American' Or 'Negro' From Same BoxA fiery blast from the past is conjuring controversy in the new millennium. The word "negro" is now featured on an official U.S. document and now many are questioning if the Census Bureau is being insensitive.
Image via Wikipedia
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It's a word that many African Americans associate with segregation, so imagine how shocked many were to see it on the 2010 U.S. census form.
"The fact that it's 2010 and they're still putting 'negro,' I am a little offended," said Secaucus resident Dawud Ingram.
Question #9 on the this year's census asks about your race. One of the boxes you can choose is "black," "African American," or "negro," all placed next to the same box. Ingram said it's not a word he uses to identify neither himself nor anybody else.
"African Americans haven't been going by the term 'negro' for decades now. It's really confusing," he said.
But census officials disagree, saying they found some older African Americans identify themselves that way and they're trying to be inclusive. In a statement, they said: "Results from the census in 2000 showed that a number of respondents provided a write-in response of 'negro' when answering the question on race."
In fact, Congress approved the form more than a year ago. Newark resident Jabbar Ali can't believe it.
"I thought it was something we left behind a long time ago – the word 'negro,'" said Ali.
Chanou Wilshire said the census form doesn't give her an option since it's got "African American," "black," and "negro" next to the same box.
"It's highly offensive," she told CBS 2.
But not everyone is offended.
"How you define yourself I guess is subjective. But for me, that on a form doesn't offend me at all," said Brooklyn resident Tiffany Campbell.
Others don't understand why the question of race has to come up on any form.
"I'm an American. What's wrong with just being an American?" asked Newark resident Derri Gowns.
Census bureau officials said they're preparing for the 2020 form, asking folks now in a questionnaire whether the word 'negro' should be removed.