I swear to god it’s raining racists in the news today. First we get this Brooklyn Assemblyman going to a party in blackface to play a “basketball player”—as if there was no such thing as Larry Bird—and then the New York Post runs an accidentally racist article trying to convince us that Barack Obama’s friendship with Jay-Z is racist. And now we get some really juicy new racist news: The U.S. Census Bureau has announced that it’ll finally stop using the word “Negro” as a race designation for black people in 2014.
They say change in Washington can be slow, but this is ridiculous. The term “Negro” first appeared on the US Census in 1900, a little too close for comfort to that other n-word, and has stayed on the survey as the word continued to circulate through the Jim Crow years and right on through today.
If you weren’t already face-palming, here: AP points out that the US considered nixing it from the 2010 survey but then decided to keep it. A box asks black americans to self identify as “black, African Am., or Negro.”
When of all the millions of black Americans only 36,0000 self-identified as “Negro” (mostly older Americans, one would assume) the Census Bureau decided to finally ditch it starting in 2014. (Oh, and also because a bunch of black people protested.) “Robert Groves, the Census Bureau’s director at the time, apologized and predicted the term would be dropped in future censuses,” writes AP.
Starting next year with America’s community survey sent to 3.5 million households, the Census Bureau will finally catch up to the times (the times of about 1969, that is) and just go with “black” or “African-American.”