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Questions over word Negro on census forms


The use of the word Negro on census forms is bringing back memories of Jim Crow and segregation. 

"It's a bad vibe word," said Kevin Bishop, 45, a Brooklyn salesman told the New York Daily News. "It doesn't agree with me, doesn't agree with my heart."

But the Census Bureau says the word is included to ensure an accurate count of the nation's minority residents.

Question No. 9 on this year's census form asks about race, with one of the answers listed as "black, African-Am. or Negro."

Congress gave the OK for the term to appear on census forms a year ago. But now that it is in print, some people are objecting.

Charles Stith is the former US ambassador to Tanzania. He now heads up the African Presidential Archives and Research Center at Boston University.

“Well, I think it is a teaching moment. But you know, as an academic, it certainly is not a teaching moment at the graduate level. This is pretty elementary. Look, you're kind of blowing this out of proportion. We've got much bigger fish to fry in this country than this,” he said.

"The reality is, it's pretty clear that when you look at the question it's an attempt by the census bureau to just make sure they cover everybody's bases," he said.

Stith says he understands why some people would have a strong opinion on the matter.

The use of Negro began disappearing with the civil rights movement of the 1960s as black or African-American became the preferred terms. 

Read the full story on the New York Daily News Web site.

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