Is the Word Negro Offensive?

Negro-A member of a race of humankind native to Africa and classified according to physical features (as dark skin Pigmentation). *

Negro was the accepted term for black people until around the 1960’s. In the 60’s the term black became the acceptable term, James Brown had a hit song called “Say it Loud I’m Black and I’m Proud.” We embraced black and now we have embraced African American, but embracing a term does not erase the history of terms that were acceptable back in the day. Currently a State Senator in Maryland is trying to get a mountain that runs through Maryland and Pennsylvania renamed. The name is Negro Mountain. She feels the name is offensive. She has received hate mail from members of the community opposed to the renaming of the mountain. For all the details read the link and tell me what you think.

*Webster Dictionary

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  • LPM  On February 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I don’t necessarily find the word Negro offensive. After reading about the story, I do, however, think the senator is trying to do a good thing. If the true intent is to honor the gentleman who committed the act of bravery, why not give the mountain his name? It’s kind of like calling the Lincoln Memorial “the memorial of the 16th president.” Just a note – the mountain runs through Garrett County, Maryland, which according to statistical data, is 99% percent white. I doubt that there would be the same resistance if the mountain ran through Prince George’s County (the only predominately Black county in the state). Just a thought…

  • Amenta  On February 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I don’t think Negro is offensive alone. Context could mean a lot to determine it’s offense.

  • Elogam  On February 15, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    It’s all about context. And just for the record, we have not ALL embraced the term “African-American”. Just like that great American President Teddy Roosevelt, I do not believe in generations of “hyphenated Americans.” Once you are here, your progeny should be “American-Americans”. If you are going to use the term “African-American”, you need to be consistent with it. There are whites who came here from Africa as well. Will the term apply to them too? Ironically, I am tolerant of the term when it is used of our current president. His father was indeed African, and he is a first-generation descendant. His children, however, I would consider to be simply “Americans”, or if ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, Black Americans.

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