To keep pace with rapidly changing notions of race, the Census Bureau wants to make broad changes to its surveys that would end use of the term "Negro," count Hispanics as a mutually exclusive group and offer new ways to identify Middle Easterners.
The recommendations released Wednesday stem from new government research on the best ways to count the nation's demographic groups. Still it could face stiff resistance from some race and ethnic groups who worry that any kind of wording change in the high-stakes government count could yield a lower tally for them.
"This is a hot-button issue," said Angelo Falcon, president of the National Institute for Latino policy in New York City and a community adviser to the census. "The burden will be on the Census Bureau to come up with evidence that wording changes will not undermine the Latino numbers."