The US Census will drop “negro” as a race option starting next year. In response to growing criticism of the classification, the US Census Bureau will delete “negro” and leave “black” or “African American” as options.
Nicholas Jones of the Census Bureau stated that research indicates that the term “negro” is considered offensive, and therefore will not be included on next year’s forms. Jones admits that the issue should have been addressed before the 2010 census was distributed.
As reported by Pew Research, race classification has changed considerably through the years. The Census Bureau began using race as a classification in 1910. At that time, the classifications included “mulatto,” “other,” and “black,” as options for those, according to the instructions, who had “negro blood.”
The term “negro” was not actually included as race classification until 1930. That classification has remained, and will, until next year when the US census drops the term “negro” completely from the race classification.
As reported by the Guardian, the census forms have been historically controversial. In the year 2000 respondents could choose more than one race for the first time. Before 2000 the forms did not allow the choice of multiple races.
In 2010 the census bureau drew stark criticism when they removed all races designating Hispanic, Latin, and Spanish descent, declaring that “Hispanic origins are not races.”
The decision of the US Census to remove “negro” from the form is welcome news for many critics, but others would like to see more sensitivity and consideration when it comes to race classification. The new forms will force Hispanic and Latino respondents to choose from white, black, American Indian, Asian or Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, unless the census addresses that issue as well.