Most Americans can see the blatant hypocrisy when left-wing ethno-centric groups, such as La Raza, attempt to smear President Trump and his 61 million supporters as racists, while they themselves claim to put "Latino people first" and are closely tied to anti-white racists (see my article for FPM on that issue here).
Of course, these groups wouldn’t get away with their race-based policy agenda if our media and political elites applied scrutiny properly and equally. But independent and patriotic watchdogs like FPM may be having an effect. La Raza, for example, was recently forced to create a "myths-busting" page on their website, "settling" a number concerns raised about the group over the years. The gesture suggests the group is feeling pressure. Unfortunately for La Raza, its attempts are fairly feeble.
Take the "myth" about their name. "Raza," the group claims, doesn’t actually mean "race." To say its name implies it is somehow ethno-centric is therefore baseless. As the group writes:
Many people incorrectly translate our name, “La Raza,” as “the race.” While it is true that one meaning of “raza” in Spanish is indeed “race,” in Spanish, as in English and any other language, words can and do have multiple meanings. As noted in several online dictionaries, “La Raza” means “the people” or “the community.”
This might work on English-only speakers who take the media’s acceptance of the group on faith. But for most, an obvious question is, why not just call the organization the "National Council for La Gente" or the "National Council for La Comunidad" the actual words for ‘people’ and ‘community’ in Spanish?
Also, if "raza" didn’t have racial connotations, why did the organization attempt to rebrand itself, now simply referring to itself as "NCLR"? The decision is especially interesting considering the organization now risks being confused with another "NCLR": the National Center of Lesbian Rights.
But even if "raza" did mean "race," the group writes, it’s actually more of a concept, and an inclusive one at that, not a genetic-based, taxonomic term like it is in English. As their website states:
The term was coined by Mexican scholar José Vasconcelos to reflect the fact that the people of Latin America are a mixture of many of the world’s races, cultures, and religions. Mistranslating “La Raza” to mean “the race” implies that it is a term meant to exclude others. In fact, the full term coined by Vasconcelos, “La Raza Cósmica,” meaning the “cosmic people,” was developed to reflect not purity but the mixture inherent in the Hispanic people. This is an inclusive concept, meaning that Hispanics share with all other peoples of the world a common heritage and destiny. (emphasis mine).
There are several problems here. While Vasconcelos may have come up with the term "La Raza Cosmica," the word "race" was created long before him—it actually goes back to the Latin radix or root. And assuming "raza" as used by Vasconcelos was a concept, it certainly wasn’t an inclusive or benign one. As Guillermo Lux and Maurilio Vigil note in their 1991 book, Aztlan: Essays on the Chicano Homeland:
[T]he theory of la raza cosmica (the cosmic or super race) [was developed] at least partially as a minority reaction to the Nordic notions of racial superiority. Vasconelos developed a systematic theory which argued that climatic and geographic conditions and mixture of Spanish and Indian races created a superior race. The concept of La Raza connotes that the mestizo [of mixed race, usually the child of a person of Spanish descent and an American Indian] is a distinct race and not Caucasian, as is technically the case.
Looking at how the term came to be used during the birth of the Chicano movement, when La Raza became established, it was anything but inclusive. In describing the tribalistic or ethnically collectivist nature of his Hispanic-only political party, La Raza Unida ("The United Race"), Jose Angel Gutierrez stated, “The aim of La Raza Unida party is to obtain political power for La Raza, all Spanish surnamed people in the United States.” Elsewhere, Gutierrez has stated, “It is important for us to use the word raza nowadays because we have to first identify ourselves. In order to be we have to know who we are and in order to know who we are… we tell ourselves who we are, give ourselves our own identity.”
At the time the Chicano Movement got started, some Hispanic activists such as Cesar Chavez expressed discomfort with racial-centric groups like La Raza. As he stated at the time, “I hear about la raza more and more… [s]ome people don’t look at it as racism, but when you say ‘la raza,’ you are saying an anti-gringo thing, and our fear is that it won’t stop there.”
Even according to the Huffington Post, an outlet La Raza’s current president, Janet Murguia, has used to denounce those who claim "raza" means "race," the term is indeed one expressing “ethnic consciousness.” And behind closed doors at least, Murguia appears to agree. At an award ceremony for former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales a few years back, Murguia stated, “We are going to put our [Latino] people first.”
Putting themselves ahead of others is all the group does apparently. According to their site, La Raza works on health initiatives, home-buying counseling, and primary and secondary education programs all with a specific Hispanic-only bent. It’s youth employment and leadership programs, for instance, are badged in Spanish: the Escalera and Lideres initiatives. It also vigorously advocates for racial preferences and affirmative action (which benefits new Hispanic immigrants), bilingual education, mass immigration, and amnesty for illegal aliens, all under the motivation that it will aid their fellow co-ethnics.
Without the mainstream media’s unwillingness to do its job in applying scrutiny fairly, La Raza would not be receiving the millions of dollars it does every year in corporate and taxpayer grants. Nor would the nation’s top political leaders, including Obama, Joe Biden, Sen. John McCain, and Eric Holder, speak at its annual conferences. Instead of attacking advocates for immigration-control, it should be La Raza itself that’s put on the backfoot. With the major media all but delegitimized, hopefully more and more Americans will see organizations like La Raza for what they truly are.