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Mon May 23, 2016, 07:38 AM

‘Negro,’ ‘Oriental’ and ‘Indian’ to Be Scrubbed From All Federal Laws

President Obama signed bill H.R.4238 “modernizing terms relating to minorities” into law on Friday.



As the country begins to reconcile its sometimes inglorious past, as with Confederate statues and heroes being swept into the dustbin of history, President Barack Obama signed a bill taking racially offensive words such as “negro” and “Oriental” out of all Federal laws, reports Mediate.

Sponsored by Congresswoman Grace Meng and co-sponsored by all 51 members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, bill H.R.4238 will strike words such as “Negro, American Indian, Eskimo, Oriental, or Aleut or a Spanish speaking individual of Spanish descent” and replace them with “Asian American, Native Hawaiian, a Pacific Islander, African American, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Native American, or an Alaska Native.”

There has been a lot of controversy lately about how “ethnic” groups in the U.S. are referred to, especially with racially-charged words such as “r--skins,” the “n-word” and “Oriental,” and so this bill is just one more way that people of color can and will define themselves with words they find acceptable.

Rep. Meng, who is Chinese-American and from Queens, N.Y., said that she is especially happy that the word Oriental is going the way of the covered wagon.

“Many Americans may not be aware that the word ‘Oriental’ is derogatory,” says Meng. “But it is an insulting term that needed to be removed from the books, and I am extremely pleased that my legislation to do that is now the law of the land.”


http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2016/05/_negro_oriental_and_indian_to_be_scrubbed_from_all_federal_laws.html?wpisrc=mostpopular

15 replies, 1699 views

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Reply ‘Negro,’ ‘Oriental’ and ‘Indian’ to Be Scrubbed From All Federal Laws (Original post)
IronLionZion May 2016 OP
fasttense May 2016 #1
heaven05 May 2016 #3
jtuck004 May 2016 #2
TacoD May 2016 #4
Spacedog1973 May 2016 #6
TacoD May 2016 #8
Spacedog1973 May 2016 #15
TacoD May 2016 #5
Iggo May 2016 #7
AgingAmerican May 2016 #13
IronLionZion May 2016 #9
catnhatnh May 2016 #10
IronLionZion May 2016 #12
catnhatnh May 2016 #14
d_legendary1 May 2016 #11

Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon May 23, 2016, 07:55 AM

1. Now if we could stop sending them to jail

 

And provide them with economic opportunity, then this symbolism might mean something.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #1)

Mon May 23, 2016, 09:47 AM

3. +1000

 

simple but truthfully revealing of the emptiness of this legislation. Get rid of welfare reform of 1995, prisons for profit, NAFTA, Telecommunications ACT, Patriot Act and then maybe there will be progress against injustice and for the majority of people WHO DON'T get a chance to attend college or universities, bring manufacturing back to our country. Toothless bullshit. People are still going to use these terms and worse to describe an 'other', racially, culturally and in describing sexual orientation. Trump has assured that to keep happening and in greater numbers than ever. America without is military strength would be a paper tiger. There is no compelling justification for racism, sexism and any other 'ism' that negatively impacts those that are not white, male and heterosexual. Yet 'land of the free, home of the brave' shows the world constantly examples of gross ignorance and unreasoning hate based on non membership in the "club" George Carlin continually alluded to in his 'act'.

60+ years of the n-word, b-word, c-word, f-word. Murders of unarmed minorities in the streets and jails that turn the badge carrying murderers into rich murderers. Murders and hate against people whose orientation, sexually, is their decision AND RIGHT. MYSOGYNY running rampant and gun nuts shooting innocent people everywhere in this country, even churches.

America great again?

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon May 23, 2016, 09:38 AM

2. What's insulting is pretending that removing the words will change any hearts. But

 

I guess people are so used the low bar they don't even think about it.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon May 23, 2016, 09:51 AM

4. Interesting

I thought I had read that many older African-Americans in some regions identified as "Negro" and that many Native Americans prefer "Indian."

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Response to TacoD (Reply #4)

Mon May 23, 2016, 10:06 AM

6. Not sure where you read that

Or why it would be important enough to comment that 'many' older AAs and 'many' native American's prefer 'Indian' and 'Negro' to be called by. I Would be interested in reading from a link you have where it states that.

I think most knowledgeable individuals know indistinctly if nothing else, that calling AA's 'Negroes' is going to cause problems. What is always a continual source of surprise is the depth of ignorance of people whose only difference is the color of their skin, yet many people know almost nothing of how to respectfully converse with them, despite their being in the US since practically the birth of the nation. If anything, its an embarrassment that this has to be an issue that involves the President, rather than one that could come about through a level of natural cultural evolution.

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Response to Spacedog1973 (Reply #6)

Mon May 23, 2016, 10:15 AM

8. Here is what I read about the term "negro":

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/25/negro-designation-stays-on-census-form/

In an interview, Mr. Groves explained that a research study found many older African-Americans who still referred to themselves as Negroes. In the 2000 census, he said, about 50,000 additional people wrote in the word Negro in a line that asked people how they wished to be identified. Half of those, he said, were 45 years old or younger.

“This was a surprise,” Mr. Groves said. “No one expected this.”

So the Census Bureau decided to keep Negro as an option in the race category in the 2010 census, in an effort to account for everyone.

“The motivation was to be as inclusive as possible,” Mr. Groves said. “For some people, that word is offensive. That word evokes memories that are not pleasant. And I apologize to those who are offended on behalf of my colleagues.”


That was in 2010. In 2013 the census bureau decided to drop the word after all. I'm sure that overall there are many more people offended by the word than there are who identify by it.

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Response to TacoD (Reply #8)

Mon May 23, 2016, 11:36 AM

15. Thanks for the link

I note that
In an interview, Mr. Groves explained that a research study found many older African-Americans who still referred to themselves as Negroes. In the 2000 census, he said, about 50,000 additional people wrote in the word Negro in a line that asked people how they wished to be identified. Half of those, he said, were 45 years old or younger.
is the quote from the article that seemed to justify his comments.

However, it provides little context as to how many more 50,000 people constituted from the original 2000 census as referred to in the article. Is that a massive increase? A moderate increase? A small increase? A census is usually involving millions. A 50,000 increase is noise in regard to numbers that massive.

The information is also absent of what the majority of AA expressed of their preference. That would be what you would base any conclusion upon, not whether there has been an small increase (for example) of gay men being ok with being called 'queens' and basing how you converse with gay men on that, rather than how gay men feel about that word to describe them as a group as a whole.

In addition, it doesn't refer to the nuance of the phrase; i.e in what context it is used for example; in forms asking of ethnicity/ identity, in comparison with how the same people might feel comfortable in being addressing vocally. Are they ok with ticking the 'negro' box on an official form, but not ok with the neighbour's white son, referring to their children as 'the negro children next door'.

Going back to my original point, if Harry Reid, in this example, really was that ignorant of how the majority of people feel about the word negro and its historical context, then as a representative of the public, some of whom will be AA, his reasoning is woeful.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon May 23, 2016, 09:52 AM

5. Will the Bureau of Indian Affairs be renamed? (nt)

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Response to TacoD (Reply #5)

Mon May 23, 2016, 10:09 AM

7. I hope so.

It would definitely piss off the people who I find it most entertaining to piss off.

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Response to TacoD (Reply #5)

Mon May 23, 2016, 11:03 AM

13. Obviously

 

"Native American" affairs isn't that difficult...

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon May 23, 2016, 10:23 AM

9. As a minority POC, this is a very important step towards progress

because countless state/local laws and court cases and journalistic publications and reference materials will go with the language used in federal laws.

There was a time when they had to define the word "caucasian" because Indian (India, not Native American) people applied for US citizenship on the basis that Indians are caucasian by classical definitions. A lot of language in laws was written to benefit the people in power at the time and to spite other people. Why else would they have laws that reference ethnicity?

Language is very important. The words we use often shape the thoughts we think and believe and the ideas we teach in school and see in our media and so on. Language guides conversation. I'm glad this is happening.

This law was sponsored by people of color. And a good thing I noticed is that there are 51 members of the Asian Pacific caucus. There was a time in this country when there were 0 Asian-Americans in congress.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon May 23, 2016, 10:42 AM

10. Clueless old white guy question....

...I had not heard the term "oriental" was derogatory. Can anyone give me a brief explanation?

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Response to catnhatnh (Reply #10)

Mon May 23, 2016, 11:01 AM

12. Items can be Oriental, not people

People can be Asian.


http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112465167

The term has a long history of racism and stereotypes which is why many Asian people find it offensive.

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Response to IronLionZion (Reply #12)

Mon May 23, 2016, 11:13 AM

14. Thank you

Your post is exactly on point and yet the guy interviewed never actually said why it was derogatory, only that is was an older descriptor and overly broad. He described it as having negative connotations yet never gave a why this was so or gave an example of using the term as a slur. I can pretty easily delete it from my personal usage since I use it exclusively as a descriptor of a ramen flavor,. Thanks again for trying to help.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon May 23, 2016, 10:53 AM

11. If only this law could affect certain sports teams

then we'd be set somewhat.

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