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'Negro' on form draws ire of prospective juror in New York

Posted by on Jan. 12, 2014 at 6:15 PM
  • 63 Replies

 

'Negro' on form draws ire of prospective juror in New York

By Haimy Assefa, CNN
updated 8:56 PM EST, Sat January 11, 2014
Raeana Roberson posted this image of her New York juror information card on her Facebook page.
Raeana Roberson posted this image of her New York juror information card on her Facebook page.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "Negro" used as part of race category by New York courts
  • Prospective juror was offended and posted picture of card on Facebook
  • U.S. Census Bureau stopped using the term at the beginning of 2014

New York (CNN) -- "Yes, I identify as black or African-American, but I am not a Negro," said a 25-year-old teacher from New York City.

On Monday, when Raeana Roberson took the day off from work to report for jury selection, she was not prepared for what she called an offensive and disgusting experience.

The juror information card all prospective jurors have to fill out included a race category that included, "Black, African-American, or Negro."

"Are you kidding me? What year is this?" Roberson thought when she read the form.

When Roberson looked around, no one else in the room was apparently concerned by this, she told CNN on Friday.

Since the words "Black, African-American, or Negro" appeared as a part of a single category, Roberson crossed out the word "Negro" and wrote next to it, "offensive! It's 2014!"

She then snapped a picture of the form and posted it on her Facebook page.

Roberson returned the form to a court employee, hoping for some sort of reaction, but there was none, she said.

With grandparents from North Carolina who lived through the Jim Crow laws of racial segregation, Roberson said she is especially offended by the contemporary use of the word "Negro."

It is outdated and has a negative connotation, Roberson said.

"I don't think it was malicious," said Jeffrey Sammons, a professor of history at New York University.

"Negro" has been used from the late 1900s all the way to the Harlem Renaissance and beyond, Sammons explained. There were times when the word was used to describe educated and empowered African-Americans, he said.

There have been various terms that have been embraced by different generations of African-Americans, Sammons said, and "Negro" was one of them.

The term lost popularity with the arrival of the baby boomers and the black pride movement, according to Sammons.

"I believe there are many black people who still prefer that term," said Sammons. "It is a generational issue."

It would be a problem if the word "Negro" appeared on the form by itself, he said Friday.

Race categories for New York courts come from the U.S. Census Bureau, according to Arlene Hackel, a spokeswoman for the New York State Office of Court Administration. The courts are required to collect demographic information about prospective jurors, per Judicial Statue Section 528.

As of September 13, 2010, every person who appears for jury service in any city in New York must complete a scannable data card, which includes specification of race, according to the statute. However, the statute only uses the word "black" when referring to blacks or African-Americans.

According to a 2010 blog post by then director of the U.S. Census Bureau, Robert Groves, the word "Negro" was used in the 2000 census as a result of research in the late 1990s that showed approximately 56,000 people wrote in the word "Negro" under the "some other race" category.

More than half of these individuals were under the age of 45 in 2000.

In the 2010 census, many respondents found the use of the word "Negro" outdated and offensive, according to a press release by the bureau.

Groves apologized to those who were offended.

"I am confident that the intent of my colleagues in using the same wording as Census 2000 was to make sure as many people as possible saw words that matched their self-identities. Full inclusiveness was the goal," Groves wrote.

Following the negative feedback, the Census Bureau conducted research on race and Hispanic origin using what it called the Alternative Questionnaire Experiment, according to the press release. The study found that removing the term "Negro" does not have an impact on data quality and therefore recommended removing the term for future data collection.

The Census Bureau, which follows the Office of Management and Budget for definitions of race and ethnicity, discontinued use of the word "Negro" at the beginning of 2014, according to a press release.

New York courts will be following suit and discontinuing the use of the word soon, according to Hackel.

"Collecting demographic data is really important; however, they may have had a technical hiccup in their choice of language," said analyst Greg Hurley of the National Center for State Courts.

Not all states collect demographic information from prospective juror, Hurley told CNN. It is a good thing that New York courts do this in order to ensure a fair cross-section of the community, he explained.

The National Center for State Courts created its own form for prospective jurors, which does not include the word "Negro."

According to Hackel, this is the first time officials have heard of anyone being offended as a result of the race categories on juror information cards.

by on Jan. 12, 2014 at 6:15 PM
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Replies (1-10):
billsfan1104
by Jules on Jan. 12, 2014 at 6:24 PM
1 mom liked this
It's not offensive.
And didn't you learn anything while you were gone??
Can't stop with the race baiting articles. Smdh
LiveinJoy
by Namaste on Jan. 12, 2014 at 6:31 PM

what is offensive about the word negro?

sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Jan. 12, 2014 at 6:33 PM

 

Quoting billsfan1104: It's not offensive.
And didn't you learn anything while you were gone??
Can't stop with the race baiting articles. Smdh

 I didn't write the article, in what way is it race baiting?

It's not offensive to YOU....to some, it IS

sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Jan. 12, 2014 at 6:35 PM

 

Quoting LiveinJoy:

what is offensive about the word negro?

 www.thefreedictionary.com/Negro   Cached

Ne·gro (n gr) n. pl. Ne·groes Often Offensive. 1. A Black person. See Usage Note at black. 2. A member of the Negroid race. Not in scientific use
LiveinJoy
by Namaste on Jan. 12, 2014 at 6:36 PM


Quoting sweet-a-kins:

 

Quoting LiveinJoy:

what is offensive about the word negro?

 www.thefreedictionary.com/Negro   Cached

Ne·gro (n gr) n. pl. Ne·groes Often Offensive. 1. A Black person. See Usage Note at black. 2. A member of the Negroid race. Not in scientific use

Are you telling me it's offensive because this dictionary says so? Or is it because people associtae the word negro with ni**er?

sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Jan. 12, 2014 at 6:39 PM

 

Quoting LiveinJoy:


Quoting sweet-a-kins:

 

Quoting LiveinJoy:

what is offensive about the word negro?

 www.thefreedictionary.com/Negro   Cached

Ne·gro (n gr) n. pl. Ne·groes Often Offensive. 1. A Black person. See Usage Note at black. 2. A member of the Negroid race. Not in scientific use

Are you telling me it's offensive because this dictionary says so? Or is it because people associtae the word negro with ni**er?

 I am not telling you anything, I was sharing that it is accepted that it is usually offensive.

You don't have to find it offensive for others to feel it is so

LiveinJoy
by Namaste on Jan. 12, 2014 at 6:41 PM


Quoting sweet-a-kins:

 

Quoting LiveinJoy:


Quoting sweet-a-kins:

 

Quoting LiveinJoy:

what is offensive about the word negro?

 www.thefreedictionary.com/Negro   Cached

Ne·gro (n gr) n. pl. Ne·groes Often Offensive. 1. A Black person. See Usage Note at black. 2. A member of the Negroid race. Not in scientific use

Are you telling me it's offensive because this dictionary says so? Or is it because people associtae the word negro with ni**er?

 I am not telling you anything, I was sharing that it is accepted that it is usually offensive.

You don't have to find it offensive for others to feel it is so

I would truly like to know why people find the word offensive. Right now I can only assume why because no one has ever shared with me why it is offensive and why I should find it offensive.

SallyMJ
by Bronze Member on Jan. 12, 2014 at 6:47 PM
1 mom liked this

You'd think, with the strong control liberal Democrats have over New York for 60 years, that they would have "fixed" this decades ago. Have they been sleeping on the job or something?

sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Jan. 12, 2014 at 6:54 PM
2 moms liked this

 

Quoting SallyMJ:

You'd think, with the strong control liberal Democrats have over New York for 60 years, that they would have "fixed" this decades ago. Have they been sleeping on the job or something?

 NEW YORK, Nov 30 (Reuters) - With Bill de Blasio taking office as mayor in January, New York City appears poised for a resurgence of liberal policies.

After 20 years of Republican leadership, not only will America's largest city have the most liberal mayor in a generation, helping him implement change will be a progressive-leaning City Council and a longtime liberal ally in the new public advocate.

The city was governed for the last 12 years by Michael Bloomberg, a political independent who was first elected as a Republican, and for eight years before that by Republican Rudolph Giuliani.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/30/new-york-city-liberals_n_4363564.html

SallyMJ
by Bronze Member on Jan. 12, 2014 at 7:10 PM
1 mom liked this

You mean Mike Bloomberg, a Democrat, who became a Republican, and then an Independent to run - but who governed as a liberal Democrat?  That one?

Besides, who doesn't pay attention and report to their city things that need to be fixed, despite who is in office?

Good grief, this could have been fixed BEFORE those damn Republicans ever were in office.

Quoting sweet-a-kins:

 

Quoting SallyMJ:

You'd think, with the strong control liberal Democrats have over New York for 60 years, that they would have "fixed" this decades ago. Have they been sleeping on the job or something?

 NEW YORK, Nov 30 (Reuters) - With Bill de Blasio taking office as mayor in January, New York City appears poised for a resurgence of liberal policies.

After 20 years of Republican leadership, not only will America's largest city have the most liberal mayor in a generation, helping him implement change will be a progressive-leaning City Council and a longtime liberal ally in the new public advocate.

The city was governed for the last 12 years by Michael Bloomberg, a political independent who was first elected as a Republican, and for eight years before that by Republican Rudolph Giuliani.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/30/new-york-city-liberals_n_4363564.html


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