Outrage that census is using the term 'Negro' - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Outrage that census is using the term 'Negro'

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - The U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 form allowing people to identify themselves as "Negro" is generating some anger from some who say the term is outdated and offensive. The question may lead some African-Americans to ask just how far the country has come.

It's a word that many African-Americans like Rekedra Franklin associate with the distant past. So imagine how shocked the Encanto resident was to see it on the 2010 U.S. Census form.

"I could not believe that they're still wanting us to put down 'Negro' as part of our race, and that's not what we are. We are African-Americans," Franklin said.

Question number 9 on this year's census asks your race. One of the boxes you can choose is black, African-American or Negro, all placed next to the same box.

Franklin says it's not a word she uses to describe herself or anyone else.

"I'm like, you know I really don't want to fill this out. The first thing I did was call my mom, 'Did you see this form?' She again was outraged. I spoke to my boss about it. Everybody feels the same way. It should not be on the form, period," she said.

But census officials say they found some older African-Americans identifying themselves that way and they're trying to be inclusive.

In a statement sent to News 8, officials say, "Results from Census 2000 showed that more than 56,000 respondents provided a write-in response of 'Negro' when answering a question on race."

San Diego County Urban League President Ray King understands why some younger members of the black community may be upset by the word on the form. Personally, though, as part of an older generation he sees it differently.

"I don't find it offensive, I find it largely amusing. America has always been challenged to get a proper perspective on black identity," King said.

Census bureau officials say they're preparing for their 2020 forms, asking people now in a questionnaire if the word "Negro" should be removed. They say the questionnaire is an educational survey to get a pulse on what Americans are thinking. Any changes, it says, will have to be approved by Congress.

The Civil Rights movement during the late 60s led to the use of black or African-American. The Rev. Jesse Jackson is credited with making "African-American" the preferred reference in the late 80s.

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