North Dakota state Rep. Terry Jones has introduced a bill that would allow people to select “American” as their race on official documents, according to Forum News Service.
In defense of the bill, the Republican said race is used to divide the nation and that Black Americans are “glad their ancestors were brought here as slaves.”
House Bill 1333 would require state agencies to list “American” as the first option on any form that asks for racial information.
Jones, R-New Town, said he is “disgusted” with how race is used by bad actors to divide the country and that his legislation would help unify Americans under a shared identity.
He added that he’s trying to get national politicians on board with the classification change, but first, lawmakers in North Dakota will consider the bill. House Majority Leader Chet Pollert, R-Carrington, said he had not yet read Jones’ bill and could not comment on its merits.
According to Jones, his proposal acknowledges America’s history with race but focuses on what people have in common rather than their differences.
He added that citizens of all backgrounds are proud to be American, saying of Black Americans, “they’re glad their ancestors were brought here as slaves.”
Jones said he believes in this sentiment because he read a Reader’s Digest article from the 1980s in which a Black doctor visited an African country during a period of civil conflict and made remarks about being grateful that his ancestors had been taken to America. Forum News Service’s attempts to find the article were unsuccessful.
Image credit: North Dakota House of Representatives