The Negro returns.
When the census forms included the term 'Negro' -- "are you black, African-American or Negro?" -- it set off a surprisingly strong reaction. Some blacks or African-Americans said they were offended and confused. One woman said it made her feel like she was back in the Jim Crow south. A progressive website started a campaign telling people to cross out the word 'Negro' when they fill out the forms.
The Census Bureau explained it was trying to be as inclusive as possible, saying some older people refer to themselves as Negroes. To tell the truth, I didn't even notice it was listed when I filled out my form.
The reaction made me think about the word. When I looked it up, I was surprised that one definition said it is sometimes used as an ethnic slur. Maybe that's why some people were offended, but that's not my impression. I wonder how and when it acquired that connotation.
I remember when Negroes became blacks. It was the late 1960s when younger blacks were challenging the nonviolent tactics of the civil rights movements and embracing a more militant demand for equality. We were black and proud. We wore our hair in naturals. Negroes were assimilationists. Uncle Toms who straightened their hair. That's what we thought.