United States: The federal government will no longer use the terms “Negro” and “Oriental”

President Obama signs bill modernizing racial language
The federal government will no longer use the terms “Negro” and “Oriental”

H.R.4238 was unanimously passed in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate earlier in 2016. President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 4238 on May 20, 2016 which amends two federal acts from the 1970s that define “minorities” with terms that are now insensitive or outdated. The federal government will no longer use the terms “Negro” and “Oriental”.

The new bill changes the language from “a Negro, Puerto Rican, American Indian, Eskimo, Oriental, or Aleut or is a Spanish speaking individual of Spanish descent” to “Asian American, Native Hawaiian, a Pacific Islander, African American, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Native American, or an Alaska Native.”

HR 4238 modernize terms relating to minorities

Sponsor: Rep. Grace Meng  [D-NY-6] (Introduced 12/11/2015)

Grace Meng
U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng is serving her second term in the United States House of Representatives. Grace represents the Sixth Congressional District of New York encompassing the New York City borough of Queens, including west, central and northeast Queens.

Grace is the first Asian-American Member of Congress from New York State, and the only Congressmember of Asian descent in the entire Northeast. She is also the first female Member of Congress from Queens since former Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro.

Born in Elmhurst, Queens, and raised in the Bayside section of the borough, Grace graduated from Stuyvesant High School and the University of Michigan. She then earned a law degree from Yeshiva University’s Benjamin Cardozo School of Law.

Prior to serving in Congress, Grace was a member of the New York State Assembly. Before entering public service, she worked as a public-interest lawyer.

Cosponsors: H.R.4238 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)
Democratic [74]
Republican [2]

Rep. Royce, Edward R. [R-CA-39]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Becerra, Xavier [D-CA-34]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Bera, Ami [D-CA-7]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Bordallo, Madeleine Z. [D-GU-At Large]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Cardenas, Tony [D-CA-29]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Chu, Judy [D-CA-27]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Clarke, Yvette D. [D-NY-9]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Crowley, Joseph [D-NY-14]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Duckworth, Tammy [D-IL-8]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Engel, Eliot L. [D-NY-16]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Eshoo, Anna G. [D-CA-18]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Grayson, Alan [D-FL-9]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Green, Al [D-TX-9]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Grijalva, Raul M. [D-AZ-3]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Honda, Michael M. [D-CA-17]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Lee, Barbara [D-CA-13]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Lieu, Ted [D-CA-33]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Matsui, Doris O. [D-CA-6]* 12/11/2015
Rep. McDermott, Jim [D-WA-7]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Scott, Robert C. “Bobby” [D-VA-3]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Smith, Adam [D-WA-9]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Takai, Mark [D-HI-1]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Takano, Mark [D-CA-41]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Velazquez, Nydia M. [D-NY-7]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Titus, Dina [D-NV-1]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Gabbard, Tulsi [D-HI-2]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Sablan, Gregorio Kilili Camacho [D-MP-At Large]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Swalwell, Eric [D-CA-15]* 12/11/2015
Rep. Bustos, Cheri [D-IL-17] 12/15/2015
Rep. Meeks, Gregory W. [D-NY-5] 12/15/2015
Rep. Napolitano, Grace F. [D-CA-32] 12/15/2015
Rep. Vargas, Juan [D-CA-51] 12/15/2015
Rep. Speier, Jackie [D-CA-14] 12/15/2015
Rep. Rangel, Charles B. [D-NY-13] 12/15/2015
Rep. Rice, Kathleen M. [D-NY-4] 12/15/2015
Rep. Conyers, John, Jr. [D-MI-13] 12/15/2015
Rep. Watson Coleman, Bonnie [D-NJ-12] 12/15/2015
Rep. Sanchez, Loretta [D-CA-46] 12/15/2015
Rep. Peters, Scott H. [D-CA-52] 12/15/2015
Rep. Lowenthal, Alan S. [D-CA-47] 12/16/2015
Rep. Kuster, Ann M. [D-NH-2] 12/17/2015
Rep. Lewis, John [D-GA-5] 12/17/2015
Rep. Bass, Karen [D-CA-37] 12/17/2015
Rep. Connolly, Gerald E. [D-VA-11] 12/17/2015
Rep. Roybal-Allard, Lucille [D-CA-40] 12/17/2015
Rep. Sanchez, Linda T. [D-CA-38] 12/17/2015
Rep. Van Hollen, Chris [D-MD-8] 12/17/2015
Rep. Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [D-FL-23] 12/17/2015
Rep. Payne, Donald M., Jr. [D-NJ-10] 12/17/2015
Rep. Israel, Steve [D-NY-3] 12/17/2015
Rep. Schakowsky, Janice D. [D-IL-9] 12/17/2015
Rep. Fudge, Marcia L. [D-OH-11] 12/17/2015
Rep. Brownley, Julia [D-CA-26] 12/17/2015
Rep. Maloney, Carolyn B. [D-NY-12] 12/17/2015
Rep. Sherman, Brad [D-CA-30] 12/17/2015
Rep. Lofgren, Zoe [D-CA-19] 12/17/2015
Rep. Waters, Maxine [D-CA-43] 12/17/2015
Rep. Delaney, John K. [D-MD-6] 12/17/2015
Rep. Schiff, Adam B. [D-CA-28] 12/17/2015
Rep. Frankel, Lois [D-FL-22] 01/05/2016
Rep. Tonko, Paul [D-NY-20] 02/03/2016
Rep. Olson, Pete [R-TX-22] 02/03/2016
Rep. Keating, William R. [D-MA-9] 02/03/2016
Rep. Rush, Bobby L. [D-IL-1] 02/03/2016
Rep. Schrader, Kurt [D-OR-5] 02/03/2016
Rep. Butterfield, G. K. [D-NC-1] 02/03/2016
Rep. Welch, Peter [D-VT-At Large] 02/03/2016
Rep. Cohen, Steve [D-TN-9] 02/03/2016
Rep. Perlmutter, Ed [D-CO-7] 02/03/2016
Rep. Loebsack, David [D-IA-2] 02/23/2016
Rep. Kennedy, Joseph P., III [D-MA-4] 02/23/2016
Rep. Farr, Sam [D-CA-20] 02/25/2016
Rep. Dingell, Debbie [D-MI-12] 02/25/2016
Rep. Gutierrez, Luis V. [D-IL-4] 02/25/2016
Rep. Moore, Gwen [D-WI-4] 02/25/2016
Rep. Serrano, Jose E. [D-NY-15] 02/26/2016
Cosponsors by U.S. State or Territory
California [27]
New York [11]
Illinois [5]
Florida [3]
Hawaii [2]
Maryland [2]
Massachusetts [2]
Michigan [2]
New Jersey [2]
Texas [2]
Virginia [2]
Washington [2]
Arizona [1]
Colorado [1]
Georgia [1]
Guam [1]
Iowa [1]
Nevada [1]
New Hampshire [1]
North Carolina [1]
Northern Mariana Islands [1]
Ohio [1]
Oregon [1]
Tennessee [1]
Vermont [1]
Wisconsin [1]

05/13/2016 Presented to President.
05/09/2016 Passed/agreed to in Senate: Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.
02/29/2016 Passed/agreed to in House: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 376 – 0 (Roll no. 102).
12/11/2015 Introduced in House

President Barack Obama signed HR 4238

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