Message from Montie

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On the 2010 Census report, will you be classified as a Negro?

Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at

Black Panther Party.jpg

This is me showing off the back of the shirt I wore to my cousin's '70s party.

I'm a 28-year-old Negro.


If you're looking at your screen with a perplexed expression, that was the same reaction I had when I read that the Census still has the term "Negro" on their 2010 questionnaire. The last time I participated in the Census, there was a guy strolling through the dorms to get college kids' responses, but for the life of me, I don't recall him asking me if I was "Black, African-American or Negro." If he did, I'd have probably thought he was trying to be funny and slammed the door.


But according to, more than 56,000 people filled in the blank line for race category with the term "Negro." I didn't even know people used the word. My 97-year-old great great aunt has always called herself black and Creole. My 87-year-old grandfather likes to rile me up by calling me "colored," but for the most part he says black or African-American.


As far as I can tell, the term "Negro" stopped being used in the '50s so why the Census is still using it today is just plain ironic. The purpose of the Census is to get up-to-date information on the people living in our world, but they're using outdated terms to do it. Isn't that a little hypocritical?


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