Obama just signed bill removing words ‘negro’ and ‘oriental’ from federal law

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President Obama signed a bill that removed uses of the words “oriental,” “negro” and other terms for minorities that are considered offensive, from federal law.

The bill was spearheaded by Democrat Congresswoman Grace Meng of New York and joined by 76 members of Congress including 51 from the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, NBC News reported.

Part of the law reads as follows:

Section 211(f)(1) of the Department of Energy Organization Act (42 U.S.C. 7141(f)(1)) is amended by striking “a Negro, Puerto Rican, American Indian, Eskimo, Oriental, or Aleut or is a Spanish-speaking individual of Spanish descent” and inserting “Asian American, Native Hawaiian, a Pacific Islander, African-American, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Native American, or an Alaska Native”.

“Many Americans may not be aware that the word ‘Oriental’ is derogatory,” Meng said after Obama signed the law. “But it is an insulting term that needed to be removed from the books, and I am extremely pleased that my legislation to do that is now the law of the land.”

The bill was passed unanimously by both chambers of Congress.

“After months of advocacy in both chambers of Congress, derogatory terms in federal law will finally be updated to reflect our country’s diversity,” Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, D-HI said. “Mahalo to President Obama for his quick action.”

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Carmine Sabia

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