The U.S. Army just removed “Negro” from its command policy, 24 hours after the word was discovered in regulation AR 600-20.
The Army Command Policy issued on October 22 said that “Negro” was an acceptable term to describe troops, under its race and ethnic code definition section. The document stated that “‘Haitian’ or ‘Negro’ can be used in addition to ‘Black” or ‘African American.'” It is unclear how long the word was included in the document.
A new version of the command policy released on Wednesday took out the word altogether.
On Thursday, Army spokeswoman and Lt. Col. Alayne Conway said in an official statement, “The U.S. Army fully recognized, and promptly acted, to remove outdated language in Army Regulation 600-20 as soon as it was brought to our attention. The Army takes pride in sustaining a culture where all personnel are treated with dignity and respect.” The statement also alleges that the definitions were included in an attempt to “provide (equal opportunity) and fair treatment for military personnel and family members without regard to race, color, gender, religion, national origin, and provide an environment free of unlawful discrimination and offensive behavior.”
This was not the first questionable policy targeting African-Americans in the Army. For instance, the Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms guidelines discriminate against black women’s natural hairstyles by banning twists, headbands, dreadlocks, or multiple braids longer than a quarter-inch.