Thank the U.S. Census Bureau for Dropping Racially Insensitive Term From Surveys

Target: United States Census Bureau Director Thomas Mesenbourg

Goal: Thank the Census Bureau for progressing toward racial equality by removing the word “negro” from its race category.

The United States Census Bureau had listed the word “negro” as an option to check under the “Race” category on its surveys from 1903 to 2010. Now, at long last, it is removing the word, leaving “black” and “African American” as options to mark. This is a change that is long overdue, and one that should be commended.

There has been a shift in recent years toward American legal language becoming gender-neutral, with such words as “mailman” and “manhole” being slowly phased out of legal terminology. One can only hope that this switch helps promote racial equality within legal language as well, and helps to reflect the extreme diversity of the country of the United States.

Hopefully, it will only be a matter of time before all American legal language becomes neutral in all facets. America has advanced as a society to the point where remarkable, drastic, lasting change in social and political equality can occur quickly, what with the country’s righteous focus on breaking down barriers and exercising more tolerance. Hopefully, this progressiveness in American sociology will lead to a day when all people can be truly represented equally. The United States Census Bureau making this change obviously has not created that moment, but it may one day be seen as a stepping stone toward it. Commend the Census Bureau for updating its racial categories to fit better within the 21st century.


Dear Director Mesenbourg,

Your Bureau has recently done away with printing the word “negro” as a race option on your census surveys. This is a change that is long overdue. But this letter is not intended to dwell on that word; rather, it is to commend you for taking this positive step forward.

By making this change, your organization has taken a righteous stand on racial equality and is setting a positive example that other aspects of American government can and should follow. Hopefully it will only be a matter of time before all legal and political language is completely neutral. Given America’s vast diversity, it makes sense not to favor any race or gender over any other, given that the country’s governing document states quite clearly that all are created equal. Your bureau changing its legal language to reflect this is a sign that the equality movement is moving in the right direction.

Hopefully other government agencies soon follow in your lead. Thank you for making this change and help make this country a better place.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Rios via Wikimedia Commons

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One Comment

  1. It has never made sense for that particular term to be used in the census. As such, the current employees in charge of the census should be thanked for finally fixing a glaring error.

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