Census Considers Adding Latino Category, Removing "Negro"

The changing racial composition of the U.S. is forcing the government to expand its definitions. 

Posted: 08/31/2012 03:32 PM EDT

In the past, America’s method of defining race was skin deep. However, the oversimplification of such a nuanced concept has left many Latinos and other people of mixed-race origin stuck between Black and white. The inability to stuff race within these two categories resulted in more than one-third of the country’s Latinos skipping the Black/white question on Census forms in 2010.

Now, the U.S. Census Bureau is considering some minor changes to its forms that may have a major impact on how Latinos fit into the racial fabric of the country. The Seattle Times writes:

“… the U.S. Census Bureau is researching ways to clear up the confusion by adding Latino or Hispanic to a list of government-defined race categories that includes White, Asian, Pacific Islander, Black and American Indian, along with a 'two or more races' option.

"The bureau is also considering an end to use of the term Negro, which is listed alongside black and African American on the form. And it's floating the idea of allowing people from the Middle East and North Africa, now counted as white, to write in their country of origin.

"[…] Luis Fraga, a political-science professor at the University of Washington who directs its Diversity Research Institute, said, 'Identifying ourselves by racial grouping is at the very core of who we are as a nation and how we understand political power.'"

Read the full story here.

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(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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