Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) released the following statement on the passage of H.R.3166, legislation requiring the Secretary of the Department of Defense (DoD) to modernize forms and surveys containing racially or ethnically insensitive terminology:
“The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020
(NDAA), which passed in the House of Representatives earlier today, included the text of my legislation, H.R.3166. I introduced this legislation after it was brought to my attention that the Department’s DD-2064 Form, which is issued when a service member loses his or life while deployed overseas, utilized the term ‘Negroid’ as one of the means for denoting race. I was shocked to see this term listed on documentation sent to the family of one of my constituents just a few months ago, after their son lost his life in service to our country.
“Offensive terms appearing in other DoD documents include skin color descriptions such as ‘Yellow’ for Asian Americans and ‘Red’ for Native Americans. This is quite simply unacceptable, and my legislation will see that it is fixed.”
The term “Negroid” was once used to justify racism and concepts such as racial inferiority and racial superiority. The DD-2064, which utilized the term until earlier this year, was last updated in 1977. The form was not compliant with requirements from DoD and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued more than twenty years ago.
H.R.3166 was introduced on June 10, 2019. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced identical companion legislation, S.1761, in the United States Senate on the same day. The bill was added to the NDAA as Section 913 during the final House Armed Services Committee Markup.
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.