Why term ‘la raza’ has complicated roots in US

*Maybe NCLR changed its name becasue it was too hard to explain outside the Mexican-American community. They could have used this article years ago. VL


By Russell Contreras, The Associated Press (4.5 minute read) 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The National Council of La Raza announced this week that it was changing its name to UnidosUS, dropping a word that has deep roots but may have hurt the organization in moving toward the future.

The change to remove “la raza” comes amid a backlash from conservatives and a desire by the civil rights group to appeal to younger Latinos in the United States.

The term la raza —meaning “the people” — has roots in post-revolution Mexico and in the U.S. Chicano Movement of the 1970s which helped elect some of the nation’s first Latinos to public office. Often mistaken for its literal meaning in English, “the race,” la raza has been used to describe people whose families have migrated from Latin American countries.

But in the ever-evolving discussions of race and ethnicity in the U.S., some Latino advocates see the term as outdated and no longer useful in an era of a racially diverse society and President Donald Trump.

A look at the history of the term la raza in the United States:

___

LA RAZA CÓSMICA

Following the Mexican Revolution, cultural philosopher José Vasconcelos penned the essay “La Raza Cósmica,” or “The Cosmic Race,” in 1925 in response to white supremacist rhetoric coming out of the United States and Europe. Vasconcelos argued that a “fifth race” of people had emerged in the Americas that encompassed races from around the world and transcended all the others.

The mixture of the indigenous and the Old World, he wrote, were “the moral and material basis for the union of all men into a fifth universal race, the fruit of all the previous ones and amelioration pf everything past.”

José Angel Hernández, a University of Houston history professor, said Vasconcelos became the first Mexican presidential candidate to campaign in the United States among Mexican-Americans. There, he spread his message about “la raza cósmica.”

READ MORE



Dennis Bixler-Marquez/Borderzine

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

Carlos Guerra, journalist and civil rights activist

Victor Landa April 9, 2018

In the 1960s, Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M University-Kingsville) was a hotbed for political activism. The campus was the home of several Mexican American civil rights organizations.  Among them […]

New Mexico Native James Borrego to Become First Latino Full-time NBA Head Coach

Victor Landa May 9, 2018

Spurs assistant coach James Borrego not only landed his first full-time head-coaching job on Tuesday, he made NBA history. The AP is reporting that Charlotte owner Michael Jordan has completed a […]

California, NY sue Trump administration over addition of citizenship question to census

Victor Landa March 27, 2018

The state of California sued the Trump administration Monday night, arguing that the decision to add a question about citizenship in the 2020 Census violates the U.S. Constitution. The state’s attorney general […]

Texas OKs Mexican-American studies curriculum under new name

Victor Landa April 12, 2018

The Texas Board of Education on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to creating statewide academic standards for a Mexican-American studies high school course — but only after changing the name to “ethnic studies,” […]

Second Amendment does not guarantee right to bear an AR-15

Victor Landa April 9, 2018

In 2008, in Heller v. District of Columbia, the United States Supreme Court, for the first time, interpreted the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution to protect “the right […]

5 Women Who Are Mobilizing The Latino Community For The Midterm Elections

Victor Landa May 24, 2018

The midterm elections this year are a pivotal time for activation, regardless of what side of the aisle you stand on. The Latino vote particularly is being mobilized by some […]

Latinos And Others Find Trump Tweets Not Unusual

Victor Landa April 23, 2018

NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro talks to Pilar Marrero, a writer at the Spanish language daily La Opinion in Los Angeles, about President Trump tweets attacking California’s sanctuary laws. LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST: This past […]

When Your 12-Year-Old Son Faces Little League Racism

Victor Landa April 30, 2018

As parents, we walk a fine line between solving our children’s problems and letting them struggle on their own, like when they’re faced with little league racism. My 12-year-old plays […]