US census bureau considers asking black Americans if their ancestors were enslaved

The US government is now deliberating over whether to prompt black Americans whether their ancestors were enslaved.


The US government is now deliberating over whether to prompt black Americans on if their ancestors were enslaved. This question would also appear on the census. The fundamental purpose of this action is to identify those black people who may be eligible for reparations, should the federal government decide to pursue that course.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden administration intends to find a way to distinguish black people whose families have been in the US for a long time and those who have recently moved to the country from sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, or some other country.

The report noted that there has been a call within the black community to make the categories on the census more detailed, suggesting that there are key differences between black Americans and black immigrants. The Journal noted that approximately "one in five Black people in the US are immigrants or their children, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center."

The news comes after San Francisco’s panel on reparations recently suggested that every black person should receive $5 million. However, it came to light that the $5 million figure was an arbitrary figure, with the panel conceding that the figure was arbitrary and that there was no mathematical justification for the proposal.

The Journal further reported that researchers from Duke University and work done by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has demonstrated that black Americans whose families suffered through enslavement have experienced a more difficult time than black people who have recently arrived in the country.

Chad Brown, spokesman for the National Assembly of American Slavery Descendants, said: "America sees Black people as a monolith. When you say all Black people are the same, you are ignoring differences in culture, ancestry, economics, and you are doing a disservice to everyone lumped into that group."

Supporters of the change want an additional question for those who pick "Black or African American" on a government form, where they would be able to identify that their relatives were enslaved in the US. However, it is not yet known how the government could confirm the claims from those who suggest that their ancestors were enslaved.

The Biden administration reportedly asked whether the term "African Freedmen" or "American Descendants of Slavery" would be the most appropriate. Some have suggested using “Foundational Black Americans,” but the administration has yet to comment on the idea.


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