Sunday, 10 January 2010

NYDailyNews Misquotes US Census on "Blacks"

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The African American Political Pundit takes issue with US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's use of the word "Negro" to describe President Barack Obama, and with quotes in a new book that have Reid encouraging Senator Obama to run for president because Obama is a white-enough Black, in his skin color and speech, to be accepted by whites.

The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate apologized on Saturday for comments he made about Barack Obama’s race during the 2008 presidential bid. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada described then-Sen. Barack Obama as “light skinned” and “with no Negro dialect.”

( . . . )

Reid’s comments are included in a book set to be published on Monday. “Game Change” was written by Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin and New York magazine’s John Heilemann; the pair describe the book in interviews during Sunday’s “60 Minutes” on CBS. Hot Air
The unfortunate reality is that Senator Barack Obama had a greater chance of being elected president than did e.g. Rep. John Lewis, who has much more experience, because Barack Obama is part white and looks and speaks like it. To ignore that reality is to endorse the "post-racial" view of American life while African Americans are still being metaphorically hung from posts because of our skin color.

I knew the 2010 US Census Form would be controversial in it's references to Blacks. Without having first seen the Form first, I predicted on December 3, 2009 that the form would be controversial because of the various terms used to refer to Black people, including the white-news media's favorite "black race", in which phrase they doggedly write the word "Black" with a lower-case "b".

Now, the New York Daily News says the word "Negro" on the Census Form is angering Black people. At least the US Census Form writes "Black" with a capital "B", just like "Filipino" and "Japanese".

I really don't care whether people think I'm a "Negro" or not, as long as they spell the word with a capital "N". "Negro" is a skin color as well as a well-identified national and international political group, if only in historical, socio-economic and cultural juxtaposition with the skin-color "white".

What annoys me about the Census Form is that it doesn't include "Black/brown/coffee/beige/vanilla, but not Latino/Hispanic" as one of the options, as I suggested on December 3 would be a way to reflect the panoply of skin colors among the nation's "Blacks". We Blacks know that we fit into one of these descriptors, and we know from the process of elimination that no other descriptor describes us as well as at least one of the above.

AfroSpear blogger Jose A. Vilson would certainly object at this point, and rightfully so, that "Black/brown/coffee/beige/vanilla, AND ALSO Latino/Hispanic" should be one of the category option.

I faintly object to the term "Negro" only because it is so out-dated and associated with America's Jim Crow that few people still alive will both identify with and want to be associated with the term. But, at least spelling it with a capital "N" on the Census Form shows considerably more respect for Blacks than newspapers do everyday when they insistently spell "black" with an inferior and lower-case "b".

So determined is the New York Post NOT to spell Black with a capital "B" that they actually misquote the actual Census Form when stating the categories, by turning the Census Forms "Black" into the New York Post's "black" with a lower-case "B", even in the context of a quote. This is not proper journalistic or writing practice. A quote says EXACTLY what the person being quoted said, and includes the term (sic) after a word that the quoter believes has been misspelled or misused.

The real crime of the 2010 US Census Form is in perpetuating America's believe in the existence of "race" on a grand national scale while hiding in an obscure page of the US Department of Energy the fact that the Human Genome Project has empirically proved and declared that "race" doesn't exist at all. Skin color exists, but "race" doesn't. So, having acknowledged this genetic reality, why does the 2010 US Census Form continue referring to "race"--the most-often-used biological term that has basis in biology?


BLACKkittenROAR said...

Oh my, the word race sure is troubling, isn't it? I'm not American, but I completely understand Black Americans disgust in being referred to as "Negroes". It would seem having a Black president sure hasn't inspired a lot of white people to have respect and treat Black people with the dignity all human beings deserve. The reverse seems to be true, I imagine the election of a Black president has whites scared so they've reverted to antiquated tactics to discredit the so-called "race" as a whole. Its so incredibly sad that people can't just wake up and see the truth.
Its funny though, I always thought the word "black" with the lower case b referred to colour as opposed to inadvertently it could be seen that the NY Daily has done something very bold by using the form that indicates colour. Could they be implying that race is a fallacy? Of course they probably didn't do so intentionally, but its still ironic that they did.

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

Black with a lower case "b" cannot be a reference to an ethnic group, because ethnic groups and nationalities always receive a capital "B". "Black" with a lower case b" cannot refer to a color because, as a matter of empirical fact, most people who are called "black" are not "black" at all. We're brown, cinnamon, beige, tan, khaki-- virtually anything but literally the color "black."

It's so easy with so much discussion of "Black" people to forget what color "black" really is. But if you look an Internet color chart, or the pallet from Corel Draw, it's easy to see that even as a numerical mixture of colors to arrive at the skin color of various individuals, virtually no one in the United States has literally "black" skin. The insistence that we do comes, perhaps, from the unscientific belief that "all blacks look alike".

Only according to the anti-scientific "one drop rule," that one drop of African blood makes a person ALL black, could anyone refer to us all as "black" while simultaneously insisting that they are referring to a specific skin COLOR.

If you have a car, you need only compare the color of your skin to the color of your car tires to see that, as a color, there is a significant and scientifically meaningful difference empirically between the colors "cinnamon" and "black."

For example, anyone who does a study about how "Black" people are treated in employment situations and who assumes that beige and Black are the same in terms of white people's reactions to these colors is a scientist who has begun his study with utterly unscientific premises and will arrive at unrealistic conclusions about human perception and behavior.

Newspapers are not implying that "race" is a phalacy by using a lower case "b". In scienctific discussions, species are referred to with lower case letters. So referring to black with a lower-case "b" means that your premise is that "black" is a subspecies of the human species. Even the term "human is spelled with a lower case "h".

So, when the spell "black" with a lower case "b" they are effectively saying that they are NOT discussing "Blacks" as a politico-social group, but rather "black"as a color that a significant number of people have, or as a subspecies of humans.

No one writes "Japanese" with a lower-case "j". If they did, they would effectively be saying that, whatever else they were referring referring to, they were not referring to Japanese as an group with common ancestral homes. They would be effectively stating their belief that Japanese what not a national origin group.

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