"Negro" is pejorative, right? The ethnic classification was common usage through the '60s, and even Martin Luther King used the word in speeches and his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. But we're pretty sure that in 2010 "negro" is widely considered offensive, and the Census Bureau has caused an uproar by including it on their 2010 form. Question No. 9, which asks Americans to state their race, lists "black, African Amer., or negro" as options. But how come there's only one option for "white"? What if one self-identifies as Poindexter, Richie Cunningham, or Whitey McWhite White?
Congress approved the form more than a year ago, and "negro" has appeared on past forms. Census Bureau spokesman Jack Martin says it's intended as a term of inclusion, telling the Daily News, "Many older African-Americans identified themselves that way, and many still do. Those who identify themselves as Negroes need to be included." But TV producer Patrick Riley asks Grio, "If the census form authors are going to go so far as to include an the archaic term 'Negro,' why not put 'Colored' on there? Just in case someone hadn't graduated from that word usage."
Yesterday the News took to the streets to ask blacks on the street what they think about negro. "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." And Taryn Anthony, a 25-year old graduate student, says, "I've yet to hear someone use it in a respectable manner, so placing it on a census seems as yet another way to set back African-Americans."