One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounPlural Negroesdated, offensive
A member of a dark-skinned group of peoples originally native to Africa south of the Sahara.
Relating to black people.
The word Negro was adopted from Spanish and Portuguese and first recorded from the mid 16th century. It remained the standard term throughout the 17th–19th centuries and was used by such prominent black American campaigners as W. E. B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington in the early 20th century. Since the Black Power movement of the 1960s, however, when the term black was favored as the term to express racial pride, Negro has dropped out of favor and now seems out of date or even offensive in both US and British English. The 2010 US Census questionnaire was criticized when it retained the racial designation Negro as an option (along with Black and African Am.). The Census Bureau defended its decision, citing the 2000 Census forms, on which more than 56,000 individuals handwrote “Negro” (even though it was already on the form). Apparently, Negro continues to be the identity strongly preferred by some Americans. See also black
Mid 16th century: via Spanish and Portuguese from Latin niger, nigr- ‘black’.
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