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house Bill H.R. 995

Should Outdated & Offensive Racial Terms in USDA & Interior Dept. Regulations be Changed?

Argument in favor

Derogatory terms have no place anywhere in respectable public discourse, let alone in federal regulations. Modernizing terms used to describe minorities in federal law should be a continuous effort.

BeStrong's Opinion
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08/31/2017
Yes. Because Racially offensive terms are... offensive.
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Matei's Opinion
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08/31/2017
This seems like a good idea. A small amount of work will send a big message to hate groups.
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Chip's Opinion
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08/31/2017
This seems like a no brainer to me. And the terms to be changed are listed under details for anyone who bothers to read these things.
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Argument opposed

The terms used to describe minority groups in federal laws might be offensive to some — but Congress has more important things to do than spend time trying to correct its past mistakes.

Sammi's Opinion
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08/31/2017
Why are we putting the race of a person on any thing today. what should be put down is American or not american and where they are from. The race crap continues as our government continues to want the race of everyone when we are all Americans or we are not American. If a person wants to call them selves black, Asian, Mexican etc that is fine but the government should stop doing so now. Leave the pass papers as is we do not need to waste money on redoing them.
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Jim2423's Opinion
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08/31/2017
I can't believe such a minor discrepancy within government regulations is such a big deal. What a waste of money and congresses time. USBR and BLM and whatever other government agency can change the wording in the regulations as they have time. We have become a bunch of Ninnies and cry babies over stupid childish complaining. Grow up and come up with something important that will help and effect everyone. If this bill passes, I will not vote for my incumbents.
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Christian's Opinion
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08/31/2017
It's unnecessary are a waste of money. Spending millions of dollars every few years because someone is offended by a word is a giant waste of the American people's money
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
      Public Lands, Forests, and Mining Subcommittee
  • The house Passed November 28th, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Agriculture
      Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit
      Indigenous Peoples of the United States
      Committee on Natural Resources
    IntroducedFebruary 9th, 2017

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What is House Bill H.R. 995?

This bill would require the Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) and the Dept. of the Interior to change the terminology used to describe the racial background or place of origin of people in regulations concerning USDA programs for financing and insuring loans for properties in rural areas and the 1974 development plan for Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC.

The USDA would replace “Negro or Black” with “Black or African American”, “Spanish Surname” with “Hispanic”, and “Oriental” with “Asian American or Pacific Islander”.

Interior would replace “Negro” with “Black or African American”, “Oriental” with “Asian American or Pacific Islander”, and “Eskimo” and “Aleut” with “Alaska Native”. It would also replace the definition of “Negro” with the definition of “Black or African American” as “a person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa”.

Impact

Members of racial groups that would be offended by the USDA and Dept. of the Interior regulations; and the USDA and DOI.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 995

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthDuring the last Congress, legislation removing the term “Oriental” and other outdated racial terms from federal laws was passed unanimously by Congress and signed into law.

This bill — introduced by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) — has the support of four cosponsors, all of whom are Republicans.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: BCFC / iStock)

AKA

21st Century Respect Act

Official Title

To direct the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to modernize terms in certain regulations.

    Yes. Because Racially offensive terms are... offensive.
    Like (196)
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    Why are we putting the race of a person on any thing today. what should be put down is American or not american and where they are from. The race crap continues as our government continues to want the race of everyone when we are all Americans or we are not American. If a person wants to call them selves black, Asian, Mexican etc that is fine but the government should stop doing so now. Leave the pass papers as is we do not need to waste money on redoing them.
    Like (134)
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    This seems like a good idea. A small amount of work will send a big message to hate groups.
    Like (91)
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    This seems like a no brainer to me. And the terms to be changed are listed under details for anyone who bothers to read these things.
    Like (78)
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    Obviously outdated and derogatory terms should be removed/corrected in legislation. It's a relatively minor and simple fix and anyone arguing that "there are more important things to think about" are obviously 1) taking a lazy approach to the issue and 2) fundementally fails to comprehend the importance of language in shaping cultural and political attitudes toward minority groups and 3) fails to grasp the value of appropriate and respectable language in political discourse of all kinds. Yes, take this opprotunity to make a simple fix on this issue which will have a positive impact on shaping better outlooks and opinions on minority groups in the future. This seems incredibly obvious.
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    Words matter
    Like (47)
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    Sure, update to, at least, on paper indicate that this country is moving forward. Now, if we could rid ourselves of the racist administration, we'd actually be moving forward in reality!
    Like (43)
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    It's embarassing that this language is still on the books in the 21st century.
    Like (32)
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    I can't believe such a minor discrepancy within government regulations is such a big deal. What a waste of money and congresses time. USBR and BLM and whatever other government agency can change the wording in the regulations as they have time. We have become a bunch of Ninnies and cry babies over stupid childish complaining. Grow up and come up with something important that will help and effect everyone. If this bill passes, I will not vote for my incumbents.
    Like (28)
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    Yes. Because... hell do I really have to explain why???
    Like (26)
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    To the people who think this is a waste of time, clearly our country has not progressed to the degree most of us previously thought. We are in a pivotal moment in history and any small step forward should be taken. We have to start somewhere. If entire swaths of citizens feel demeaned by outdated language within our government's documents, it needs to be eradicated out of respect for their humanity and place of equality in our society.
    Like (19)
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    It's unnecessary are a waste of money. Spending millions of dollars every few years because someone is offended by a word is a giant waste of the American people's money
    Like (18)
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    I could imagine being the subject of racial language, and having it coming from a government agency would be very demeaning and disrespectful. It would be a kin to the government supporting racial discrimination in its own policies. I don’t see any reason why these things shouldn’t be removed from government regulations and policies. After all these are the things that tells us how our government is run and are a direct reflection of our society.
    Like (17)
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    Our laws and policy are supposed to be living documents - they need to be updated from time to time. We don't get better as a country by leaving problematic things alone.
    Like (14)
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    We're damn near 300 years old now. We know better.
    Like (13)
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    This is very small, but it will have an impact towards bringing people closer together. Like anything, this alone won't make a large difference, but it helps.
    Like (13)
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    Times change. What is acceptable to one generation becomes monstrous in the next. If you don't keep up you become less tolerable to the young.
    Like (12)
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    Nah.…1stA. That free speech issue, remember. By the way, Global Warming will be melting all Snowflakes, the micro/macro aggression will be a thing of the past. When was that toasted earth effect to occur? Maybe that's why Al Gore as so many A/C units on his homes.
    Like (11)
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    Are you kidding me? Of course these archaic terms should be updated. It's offensive that this is a bill being sponsored in 2017!!
    Like (11)
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    It is worth the effort to make sure laws and regulatory documents reflect a respect for all groups of people.
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