[On The Spot]
The census form should have been reprinted and the word “Negro” excluded.
When Africans were being enslaved in the United States of America (USA), they were not labeled “Negro,” because they were from Kings and Queens.
When someone refers to themselves as a “Negro,” they remove the nexus between them and the enslaved Africans who were forcibly brought to the USA in chains and sold like property– for their labor.
Names and words have power and it makes a big difference when someone renames you then tries to label you something you are not.
“Change has come to America,” were the famous words spoken by President Barack Obama; and electing the first African American president in the twenty-first century is change and an indictment on America’s politics at the same time.
So how do we reach back to the seventeen century with “Negro”? Consider the bigoted vitriol now echoing over the land as the President tries to enact policies to benefit all Americans.
The 2010 U.S. Census form does a disservice to forward march by offering “Negro” as one of the options to check off. A “Negro” has no claim to Reparations. It sounds like Jim Crow all over again. The form has been mailed to addresses all over the United States.
My suggestion–do not fall for the distraction. After checking off the box in order to be counted (the words lined next to one box are: Black, African Am., or Negro) take a red marker, circle the word, “Negro,” and put a slanted line across it if you oppose the word.
I know some people don’t want to confront the racism in this country. Since the election of Barack Obama, racism has been resurgent and even more open.
Racism is surely a terrorist act and has never been properly labeled and identified as a crime against humanity as it should be. Recall that Malcolm X wanted to take the issue before the United Nations, before he was gunned down.
Countless Africans in America were murdered because of their race during and before the Civil Rights Movement with no real legal intervention or accountability to identify the terrorists who committed those heinous and despicable acts.
Many murders went unsolved because the victims were classified as, “Negro.” So why would someone think it’s okay to offer “Negro”; moreover, it’s on aligned next to the same box to be checked off as “Black” and “African Am.”
In a free society it does not take someone with a Masters’ degree to know, hanging, beating or murdering human beings just because of the color of their skin is criminal.
So, how did our home grown terrorists get away with these crimes? “A Black man had no rights a White man was bound to respect,” Chief Justice Roger B. Taney infamously wrote, in his 67 page opinion at the end of the Dred Scott decision of 1857. He insisted, “a black man had no rights a white man was bound to respect.” And what’s more, Blacks “were of
an inferior order unfit to associate with the white race.”
We’re still battling the Roger Taney Syndrome.
In the south murdering “Negroes,” was allowed to occur for decades and the behavior went unchecked. Racism is an act of terrorism that is deeply rooted in American history. Its continuation is repudiates the American dream so many died trying to
The time has come to compel the White House and Department of Justice’s Human Rights Division to deal with the race issue in this country–to confront it head on, rather than hope that it just disappears.
There is much work to be done by all. Consider the so-called “Tea party” gatherings. These gatherings look nothing like the America many of us struggle to create, and have the fingerprints of hate groups all over it.
Large crowds of people carrying guns are being controlled by home grown terrorists who no longer hide their racism.
Official government agencies should know better than to provide fuel by legitimizing words that have in the past been associated with violence towards African Americans.
The officials at the U.S. Census Bureau felt it was safe to assume, because some elderly folks somewhere deep in the South may refer to themselves as “Negros,” that it was okay to use the word on the Census 2010 form.
The Census Bureau has three committees, with 13 members each: The Race and Ethics Advisory Committees; the Census Advisory Committees; and, the Census Advisory Committees of Professional Associations.”
They oversee what goes on the census form. How did these committees allow “Negro” as a category to remain on the form? Are the members not in tune with society?
How does the U.S. Census and U.S. Congress justify the “Negro” category even if say some 50,000 or so people refer to themselves with that term, while the vast majority –millions– don’t and see it as an attack on their legitimate claims
for Reparations for unpaid labor? Ones freedom and nationality do matter – you would think someone in one of those committees would know that.
However, there is a kind, passive, don’t-make-any-waves mindset amongst some African Americans who defend the use of the word “Negro.”
Consider that today in the 21st Century we still have the “United Negro College Fund.” This kind of thinking is talked about in, “The Mis-education of the Negro,” written by Carter G. Woodson.
Dr. Robert M. Groves, Director of the United States Census Bureau has said: “The intent was to make sure that everybody could find themselves with the words there and check the box that fits.” Yet for the three identities listed — Black, African Am., Negro– there is only one box. Then there is the box with the word “White” and I am supposed to believe what Dr. Groves stated is true? Why not apply this same intent for Caucasian Americans, Italian Americans, Irish American, Polish Americans and Albanian Americans to, “find themselves and check the box that fits”?
“In the 2000 census about 50,000 people wrote in the word Negro,” Dr. Groves said, in explanation of why the term was included. “The intent was not to offend,” and “I apologize to those who are offended on behalf of my colleagues.”
The census form has become a test to see how African Americans will deal with or not deal with this form. We MUST ALL BE COUNTED.
But it does not mean you cannot show your disapproval of the word “Negro.” There is only one box to place an, “X,” and it will not be clear if you are considered “Black, African Am., or Negro.”
The struggle continues.
For those who don’t want to see the category “Negro” in the next Census form in the future, draw a red circle around that word on the form and put a slanted line across it. Let the Census officials know you do not intend to be counted as a “Negro,” ever again.
Contact Winkfield for his consideration regarding covering your own story: (347) 632-2272 By mail: On The Spot, Post Office Box 230149, Queens County 11423; Bsnonthespot@aol.com
“Speaking Truth To Empower.”