[Lgpolicy-list] [lg policy] US: Army Command Policy Briefly Lists “Negro” as Acceptable Descriptor for Black Soldiers

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Sat Nov 8 16:03:03 UTC 2014


Army Command Policy Briefly Lists “Negro” as Acceptable Descriptor for
Black Soldiers
By Filipa Ioannou <http://www.slate.com/authors.filipa_ioannou.html>
   [image: 455543970-senate-majority-leader-harry-reid-answers-questions]
Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid answers questions at the U.S. Capitol on Sept.
16, 2014, in Washington.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

The U.S. Army found itself in an embarrassing spot when a revised update of
its Army Command Policy listed "negro" among acceptable terms to be used in
reference to black soldiers.

The Army first published its revisions to the Army Command Policy, which
outlines regulations and responsibilities, on Oct. 22, with nothing
obviously amiss. On Tuesday, though, a CNN article
<http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/05/politics/army-says-word-negro-ok-to-use/index.html>
pointed
out some anachronistic language in a section on equal opportunity that
contained definitions of various races and ethnicities. The policy
definition read, "Black or African American. A person having origins in any
of the black racial groups of Africa. Terms such as 'Haitian' or 'Negro'
can be used in addition to 'Black' or 'African American.' "

The Army is not the first to draw criticism for its use of the term *Negro* in
recent years; Harry Reid faced backlash back in 2010
<http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/01/09/reid-apology-for-negro-dialect-comment/>
for
his remarks that Obama's success was due partially to his lack of a "Negro
dialect" (like the Army, Reid quickly apologized).

Conversation around race, gender, and Army policy flared up with another
policy update earlier this year, when a personal grooming policy change
banned twists, dreadlocks, and large cornrows, referring to them as
"unkempt" and "matted." Many said
<http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/01/opinion/when-black-hair-is-against-the-rules.html>
the
measure unfairly targeted black servicewomen, and after Defense Secretary
Chuck Hagel ordered that the policy be reviewed, the military
eventually lessened
the severity <http://time.com/3107647/military-black-hairstyles/> of the
restrictions.

On Thursday, the Army removed the criticized section of the definition in
the Command Policy and issued an apology to those offended. The definition now
reads <http://www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/r600_20.pdf> "Black or African
American. A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of
Africa." Still a bit of a circular definition
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circular_definition>, but at least it's been
updated for the modern era.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/11/07/army_command_policy_language_problems_briefly_says_negro_acceptable_term.html


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