Question 9 on the 2010 census form asks what race the person filling out the questionnaire is. One of the choices is "Black, African Am., or Negro." It's that last word that is creating some controversy.
For many people, the word "Negro" conjures up terrible images of Jim Crow and segregation and the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s. Many blacks feel the antiquated word has no place on an official government document in 2010.
"It's a bad vibe word," Brooklyn man Kevin Bishop told the New York Daily News. It doesn't agree with me, doesn't agree with my heart."
The Census Bureau defends its use of the word. Spokesman Jack Martin said "Negro" was intended as a term of inclusion.
"Many older African-Americans identified themselves that way, and many still do," he said. "Those who identify themselves as Negroes need to be included."
Younger blacks, though, say the word can be offensive. "The N-word branched out of Negro," said Ryon Goulbourne.?"These days, African-Americans wouldn't like the term."
Congress approved the form in 2009. The word "Negro" has appeared on census forms in the past, but it has largely disappeared from the rest of society, as "black" and "African American" have become the preferred terms.