The News Minute | November 6, 2014 | 8:55 pm IST
The word 'Negro' has been used in a recently-published US Army handbook as an approved term to classify African-Americans, media reports said Thursday.
"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 Independent quoted the recently-updated document as saying.
The handbook outlines the military's "Army Command Policy", known as regulation AR 600-20, and features a set of racial "definitions" in a chapter on equal opportunities.
The US Army has confirmed that the term remains in use in the document, which was revised and republished as recently as Oct 22.
Trying to explain why an outdated term remains part of army policy, a military source told CNN that it could be so a soldier could choose to "self-report" as "Negro" instead of "African American" or "black" - as is reported to be the case in the US census.
But a personnel official for the Pentagon told the broadcaster this explanation was "the dumbest thing I have ever heard", adding that the US Defense Department did not feature the term in any of its demographics data.
In a statement, the US Army said the racial definitions in the policy document were "outdated, currently under review, and will be updated" shortly.