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Census Bureau Director Apologizes For 'Negro' Category On Form (VIDEO)

First Posted: 05/26/10 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 05:00 PM ET

On Friday's edition of C-SPAN's "Washington Journal," Census Bureau Director Robert Groves apologized to a caller for the "negro" classification on the 2010 census form.

"I am black. I did not appreciate the Black, the Afro-American and Negro. That is back when I used to live in Nashville, Tennessee, when people were called Negro. I do not like that, that is out of character, and it really hurt my feelings ... that to me is racist," the caller said before hanging up.

"First of all, let me apologize to you on behalf of all my colleagues," Groves responded.

He explained why the Census Bureau chose to keep the word "Negro" on the forms: "The intent of every word on the race and ethnicity questions is to be as inclusive as possible so that all of us could see a word here that rings a bell for us ... it was not to be offensive and again I apologize on that. My speculation is that in 2020 that word will disappear and there are gonna be other words that are gonna change."

Groves also said that the Census Bureau had done research about what terms people used to identify their own racial classification. In a large portion of the study, Groves said, people chose or wrote "Negro" as their race, which prompted the Bureau to continue to use word on the 2000 census. Still, Groves acknowledged that the research was outdated.

Watch Groves's appearance on C-Span's "Washington Journal":

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Filed by Nick Wing  |