Regarding Terry Collier’s March 3 letter about the Census Bureau’s switch from “Negro” to “African American” [“Replace ‘Negro,’ ‘African American’ ”]:

I like the idea of referring to a person’s descent, but how far back do we go? Current theory believes modern man came out of Africa, so aren’t we all “Americans of African descent”?

Further, an American citizen from Egypt or descended from Egyptians is an African American. So is somebody from South Africa whose ancestors came from Europe. Today, everybody knows that African American refers to people formerly referred to as black or Negro. To whom will it refer when anybody from Africa or descended from Africans (no matter how far back) can be called an African American?

Of course, I suppose one can claim any race, so it is more how you think of yourself than where your ancestors originated. Maybe, instead of offering predetermined choices, the census should just let us fill in a blank.

Bob Peirce, Venetia, Pa.