There seems to be some confusion on the difference between “Black” and “African-American,” so your government officials are doing something about that.
NBC News reports the White House’s Office of Management and Budget will host virtual town halls. On the agenda? The decision on new race and ethnicity classifications. Over 4,000 comments have been presented before the Biden administration while it considers updating these categories as early as next year.
The proposal recommends removing the words “Negro” and “Far East” from federal government forms since they are regarded as derogatory. Terms like “majority” and “minority” would also disappear due to officials failing to reflect on the nation’s complex racial and ethnic diversity. Many Black Americans with enslaved ancestors have mentioned to the OMB that they would like to be identified in a category such as American Freedmen, Foundational Black Americans, or American Descendants of Slavery.
This would separate them from being acknowledged as Black immigrants as well as reflecting their ancestors’ history in the United States.
Byron Haskins, who identifies as African-American, told NBC News that setting up categories places people in a box. “When you set up categories that are used to place people in boxes, sometime you miss the truth of them,” Haskins, who provided a comment to the Biden administration, said. He actually suggested eliminating race categories like “white” and “Black” all together as they perpetuate “deeply rooted unjust socio-political constructs.”
The Seattle Times reported there is a growing number of census respondents who’ve selected the “some other race” category for more than 30 years. Sara Curran, a sociology professor at the University of Washington, said this is what causing these updates. “These categories change as communities form and identify themselves and become differentially meaningful over time, and we need to keep up with that,” Curran said. “In order to be a good government, you have to know who you’re governing.”
In 2020, census results show that “some other race” beat out African Americans as the country’s second-largest racial group. April 12 is the last day to submit comments on the proposed changes to the OMB.