The extinction of the negro

So I say let’s be negroes this year. What the hell. Why cause a fuss?

Look, y’all, we’ve been African Americans for awhile now, right? But for some reason the US Census still has a spot on their racial identification checklist asking whether or not we’d like to identify ourselves as ‘Black, African American, or Negro.” They have done this because it seems no matter what they call us – or ask us to call ourselves – we get pissed and demand that they call us something else. I got a good idea what some of ’em probably want to call us by now, and that includes the negroes working at the Census bureau, but, well, uh-uh. No can do.

So instead, out of the goodness of their well-intentioned little hearts, the Census folk have opted to give us options, which is something I daresay we haven’t been given much of  until recent years. So you wanna be called African American? Check this box right here, pal. Oh. You meant Black? Still check this little box. Thanks so…oh. Sorry. Negro, then? Fine. Just check the damned box already, all right?

Colored??!!$#! HELL naw. Now check it and beat it, hear? NOW!

And so now, naturally, some of ‘us’ are getting pissed all over again. Why? Because now ‘we’ don’t think the Census should be giving us choices. Especially when it comes to the word ‘negro’. According to a recent article in Time magazine, some black African American negroes are apparently incensed and indignant that the word ‘negro’ is even an option anymore, apparently not considering the fact that there are still among us many older black African American negroes who remain quite uncomfortable being called black (being called ‘black’ in my mother’s day was a fighting word) or African American(no matter how hard they try, they can’t get used to the African part).

So sure, some of us younger generation might prefer that our elders ‘get with it’ and recognize the terminology of the brand new day, but the fact is that, whether we like it or not, there are still black African American negroes who prefer the term ‘negro’. And they have a right to check that box just as much as those of us who prefer to check the African American side of the box.

Besides, at the end of the day, is this really where we most prefer to give a damn?  Because when I look around me at my hometown of Detroit, which pretty much exemplifies the condition and position of  Black America USA today, it becomes readily apparent that we have a hell of a lot bigger things to be indignant about than the existence of negroes amongst us. In Detroit, which is more than 80 percent black African American negro, more than 40 percent of those black African American negroes are unemployed. Interestingly enough, that’s just about the same amount as are functionally illiterate.

Check the box, then check up on what matters.

SHAMELESS PLUG: Read my wife’s blog @ The “D” Spot Redeux


~ by Keith A. Owens on January 25, 2010.

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