Ah, the furor over the “N word.” People just can’t help themselves. Here we are in 2010 and once again the dreaded “N word” rears its ugly head.
You know the word I’m talking about too. You know you’ve said it in private, when you thought no one was listening.
Let’s go ahead and put it on the table.
There. I said it. I’ll say it again. Negro.
As you probably heard, a brand new furor has erupted over the use of this once acceptable “N word” and it’s current role in the 2010 Census. Apparently there are some Negroes that don’t like the use of that word. Even though it was at one time the accepted and preferred word by us. Hell we still use it, as in The United NEGRO College Fund.
But today, the proper thing to say is Black or African-American. Although I read somewhere recently that there is a new debate as to whether or not we should use African-American since it is confusing considering Africans who immigrated here more recently are grouped in with American Blacks who have really are not the same as Africans culturally. So along comes the new Census starting something up again with its use of the word Negro as an option for race. People are not happy.
Personally, if you can’t tell, I love the controversy. The more people argue about the stupidity of these made up “racial” classifications, the more I hope they realize the whole identity thing is ridiculous. Here is an interesting excerpt from a Time magazine piece on the whole controversy:
Consider that in a 2006 study of 138 censuses from around the world, New York University sociologist Ann Morning found that only 15% of those asking about ancestry or national origin used the term race. Almost all of those that did were former slave economies.
Further, among nations Morning studied, only the U.S. asked about Hispanic ethnicity in a stand-alone question. (Race and ethnicity are synonymous practically everywhere else in the world.) Morning concluded that talking about the two separately, as is done in the U.S., could unintentionally reinforce the view that while ethnicity is a product of culture and society, race represents something else – a set of characteristics inherent to a certain type of person (e.g., black people are athletic; Asians are smart).
Yeah, we’re stupid when it comes to this stuff. More from the article:
If it seems like a stretch that the Census would have such grand influence, take a moment for a little history. The first Census, in 1790, explicitly asked about only one race: white. Blacks, for the most part, fell into the slave category. Race was about civil status. In the 19th century, concerns about keeping the white race pure led to the addition of the “mulatto” category in 1850 (and “quadroon” and “octoroon” in 1890), a process traced by Harvard political scientist Melissa Nobles in her book Shades of Citizenship. With rising immigration, Chinese and Japanese were added as categories – but not Irish or Italian – underscoring that somehow Asians were more fundamentally different.
Are you getting this people? Race is made up. It changes based on social mores and concepts. It is fluid. IT IS NOT REAL. I like the part where Mexicans and Arabs have to consider themselves “White” according to these classifications. It is probably the only time someone confuses them for or calls them White. And this will only exist until we, or the Government, decides to give them a separate category under “Race” as opposed to “Culture.”
Oh Boy. This is so confusing. And funny at the same time. Funny in that people can and do take it all so seriously. Thus the uproar over the re-emergence of the “N Word.”