Negro or Negroid: see race.
Negro, Río, river, c.400 mi (640 km) long, formed in central Argentina by the confluence of the Neuquén and the Limay rivers, and flowing E across Río Negro prov. (N Patagonia) to the Atlantic Ocean. The river is used for irrigation.
Negro, Río, river, c.1,400 mi (2,250 km) long, rising as the Guainía River in E Colombia where it flows NE before turning south to form part of the Colombia-Venezuela border. It then flows SE through Amazonas state, Brazil, to the Amazon near Manaus. The river is filled with islands and has many secondary channels. Its main tributary is the Río Branco. The Río Negro is connected with the Orinoco basin by the Casiquiare, a natural canal. An important commercial channel (rubber and nuts are shipped on it), the Río Negro was discovered (1638) by Pedro Teixeira, a Portuguese explorer. The river was named for its black color, which results from vegetal debris, not sediment.
Negro, Río, principal river of Uruguay, c.500 mi (800 km) long, rising in S Brazil and flowing SW across central Uruguay to the Uruguay River. It traverses a sheep-raising region; there is agriculture along its lower course. On the river is Embalse del Río Negro (c.4,000 sq mi/10,360 sq km), the largest artificial lake in South America. It extends 87 mi (140 km) upstream from Rincón del Bonete, a hydroelectric dam (completed 1949) with a 128,000-kW capacity. Downstream from Bonete is Rincón de Baygorria (1960), with a 108,000-kW capacity.
Negro is a term referring to people of Black African ancestry. Prior to the shift in the lexicon of American and worldwide classification of race and ethnicity in the late 1960s, the appellation was accepted as a normal neutral formal term both by those of Black African descent as well as non-African blacks. Now it is often considered an ethnic slur although the term is considered archaic and is not common as a racist slur. The term is still used in some contexts for historical reasons such as in the name of the United Negro College Fund. "Negro" means "black" in Spanish, Portuguese, ancient Italian and the French "noir" as well as the Italian "nero" - all of which derive from the Latin niger (i.e. "black").

Modern synonyms in common use include the following:

In English

Around 1442, the Portuguese first arrived in sub-Saharan Africa while trying to find a sea route to India. The term negro, literally meaning "black", was used by the Spanish and Portuguese to refer to people. From the 18th century to the mid-20th century, "negro" (later capitalized) was considered the proper English term for all people of sub-Saharan African origin.

It fell out of favor by the 1970s in the United States after the Civil Rights movement. However, older African Americans from the period when "Negro" was considered acceptable, initially found the term "Black" more offensive than "Negro". Evidence for this is in historical African-American organizations and institutions' use of the term--such as the United Negro College Fund. In current English language usage, "Negro" is generally considered acceptable in a historical context, such as baseball's Negro Leagues of the early and mid-20th century, or in the name of older organizations, as in Negro spirituals, the United Negro College Fund or the Journal of Negro Education. The U.S. Census now uses the grouping "Black or African American."

A specifically female form of the word—negress (sometimes capitalized) —was sometimes used; but, like another gender-specific word "Jewess", it has all but completely fallen from use. (An exception is its extremely unusual use in the titles of paintings, drawings and sculptures, largely as an allusion to the formerly common occurrence of the word in such titles, but such usage has dropped off dramatically.) Both are considered racist and sexist, although as with other racial, ethnic, and sexual words that are seen as pejoratives, some individuals have tried "reclaiming" the word. An example of this is artist Kara Walker.

The related word Negroid was used by 19th and 20th century racial anthropologists. The suffix -oid means "similar to" and is meant to designate a wider or more generalized category than the original word.

In other languages

In Finland, neekeri used to be considered a neutral term for black people, but the term has gradually fell out of favour through the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Today the neutral term to define a black person is musta (literally "black"). There is a Finnish pastry traditionally called Neekerinsuukko (literally "negro's kiss"). Due to its arguably offensive character, the name has fallen out of use.

In Portuguese, negro is an adjective meaning the color black, as in 'black' person. However, preto is the most common antonym of branco (white), while negro can be condescending, since it is a word generally associated with higher registers. In Brazil the word is considered respectful and the appropriate manner to refer to the black race, though it is often considered impolite to take note of an individual's skin color in any context (which causes the word to be used only in reported speech or in third-person).

In Spain, negro (note that ethnonyms are generally not capitalized in Romance languages) means "black person" in colloquial situations, but it can be considered derogatory in other situations (for example, by French influence, negro is also the word for a ghost writer ). However, in Spanish-speaking countries, such as Argentina, Chile, Uruguay , negro (negra for females) is commonly used to refer to partners, close friends or people in general independent of skin color.

It is similar to the use of the word "nigga" in urban communities in the U.S. For example, one may say to a friend, "Negro ¿Como andas? (Literally, "Hey, black one, how are you doing?") In this case the diminutive negrito is used, as a term of endearment meaning "pal", or "buddy" or "friend." Negrito has come to be used to refer to a person of any ethnicity or color, and also can have a sentimental or romantic connotation similar to "sweetheart," or "dear" in English. (In the Philippines, Negrito was used for a local dark-skinned short person, living in the Negros islands among other places)

In other Spanish-speaking South American countries, the word negro can also be employed in a roughly equivalent form, though it is not usually considered to be as widespread as in Argentina or Uruguay (except perhaps in a limited regional and/or social context).

The popular Argentinian singer Mercedes Sosa is nicknamed "La Negra" by her fans, which in this case refers to the colour of her hair rather than of her skin.

Moreno can be used as a euphemism but it also means just "tanned" or brunette.

In Haitian Creole the word nèg, derived from the French "nègre", refers to a dark-skinned man; it can also be used for any man, regardless of skin color, roughly like "guy" or "dude" in American English.

The Dutch "neger" is generally (but not universally) considered as neutral, or at least less negative than "zwarte" (black one).

In German, Neger used to be considered a neutral term for black people, however gradually fell out of favour throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Nowadays it is largely considered a racist slur due to its phonetic similarity to nigger, and only used without racist connotation by members of the pre-baby boomer generation. Otherwise, the term Schwarzer (black person) is preferred or Farbiger (colored person). There is a candy traditionally called Negerkuss (literally "negro kiss"). Due to its arguably offensive character, the name is no longer used.

In Russia the term "негр" (negr) was commonly used in the Soviet period without any negative connotation, and its use continues in this neutral sense. In modern Russian media, the word is used somewhat less frequently "африканцы" ("Africans") or "афро-американцы"("Afro-Americans") are used instead, depending on the situation), but is still common in oral speech. The word "black" (чёрный) used as a form of address is pejorative, although it is primarily used with respect to peoples of the Caucasus, natives of Central Asia, and not black people.

In Italy negro was used as a neutral term until the end of the 60's. Nowadays the word is considered offensive in some contexts; if used with a clear negative intention it may be punished by law. Neutral words to define a black or dark skinned person without risking to result offensive are nero (arcaism of negro, literally "black") or di colore (coloured).

In Swedish neger used to be considered a neutral term for black people, but the term has gradually fell out of favour through the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Today the neutral term to define a black person is svart (literally "black"). There is a Swedish pastry traditionally called negerboll (literally "negro ball"). Due to its arguably offensive character, the name has fallen out of favor in for example cooking books. It's still in use in less formal circumstances though.

In French, the positive concept of negritude was developed by the Senegalese politician Leopold Senghor.


Further reading

  • P. A. Bruce, The Plantation Negro as a Freeman, (New York, 1889)
  • Edward Ingle, The Negro in the District of Columbia, (Baltimore, 1893)
  • W. E. B. DuBois, The Negroes of the Black Belt, (Washington, 1899)
  • B. T. Washington, The Future of the American Negro, (Boston, 1899)
  • Claude Bernard-Aubert, My Baby Is Black!, (Hollywood, 1965)
  • Montgomery Conference Proceedings, (Montgomery, 1900)
  • J. A. Tillinghast, The Negro in Africa and America, (New York, 1902)
  • T. N. Page, The Negro: The Southerner's Problem, (New York, 1904)
  • Library of Congress, List of Discussions of Negro Suffrage, (Washington, 1906)
  • W. E. Fleming, Slavery and the Race Problem in the South, (Boston, 1907)
  • Jackson and Davis, Industrial History of the Negro Race in America, (Richmond, 1908)
  • A. H. Stone, Studies in the American Race Problem, (New York, 1908)
  • W. P. Pickett, The Negro Problem, ISBN 0837122007 (New York, 1909)
  • E. G. Murphy, The Basis of Ascendency, (New York, 1909)
  • Stevenson, Race Distinctions in American Law, (New York, 1910)
  • A. B. Hart, The Southern South, (New York, 1910)
  • W. P. Livingstone, The Race Conflict, (London, 1911)
  • B. G. Brawley, A Short History of the American Negro, (New York, 1913)
  • The Negro Year Book, (Nashville, et. seq.)
  • "Negroes in the United States," in Bulletin of the United States Census Bureau, (Washington, 1915)
  • A. D. Mayo, Third Estate of the South, (Boston, 1890)
  • J. L. M. Curry, Education of the Negro since 1860, (Baltimore, 1894)
  • J. L. M. Curry, A Brief Sketch of George Peabody and a History of the Peabody Education Fund through Thirty Years, (Cambridge, 1898)
  • W. H. Thomas, The American Negro, (New York, 1901)
  • Sadler, "The Education of the Colored Race", in Special Reports of Great Britain Education Board, volume xi, (London, 1902)
  • Kate Brousseau, L'Education des nègres aux Etats-Unis, (Paris, 1904)
  • B. T. Washington, Education of the Negro, (new edition, New York, 1904)
  • W. E. B. DuBois, "A Select Bibliography of the American Negro for General Readers," in Atlantic University Publications, (Atlanta, 1901)
  • C. B. Davenport Heredity of Skin-Color in Negro-White Crosses, Carnegie Institution Publication Number 188 (1913)
  • C. H. Vail Socialism and the Negro Problem (1903)

See also

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