Just a few days ago I was sitting at my mother’s home in Blue Mountain Lake, NY, pondering my upcoming student-led IDENTITY forum, when there was a knock at the door. There stood a delightful, elderly man who asked if I could answer my mom’s census questions, since at the time she was at work. I gladly obliged, and then wondered if had he looked different, would I have been so trusting to let this perfect stranger inside. That’s another story.
He sat down and started with his list of questions and about midway through, I couldn’t help but notice the term NEGRO listed in the category for African Americans.
Shocked? Yes. Offended? No.
I immediately said to him, WOW! Negro is being used? He appeared indifferent by my dismay, and I figured it was probably because he was a white man in his mid 80s, who probably grew up identifying blacks as negro. Despite that interchange, we had a lovely conversation.
Fast forward to today, and I am back at again, prepping for the forum, and found that CNN went a little farther with the Census 2010 categories. They also took to the streets, asking folks of all ethnic backgrounds their thoughts.
Well, I went to the Census Bureau and my hunch was confirmed:
"The wording of the race category labeled “Black, African Am., or Negro” is based on Office of Management and Budget standards and Census Bureau research that showed a segment of the population still identifies itself as “Negro.” The Census Bureau has a research team dedicated to investigating issues and analyzing data on the nation’s diverse racial and ethnic groups." (quote comes via United States Census 2010: The Whole Story Real People, Real Questions, Real Answers
Now I am wondering if I should include this CNN segment in my symposium focused around IDENTITY. I believe students will have a different take. Yes?