Wednesday, June 6, 2007

La Raza Makeover

There has been much criticism of La Raza of late. They are a well-established Latino activist group. But lately some right wing folks have pointed out that their name means “the race”, or more precisely “THE race”, the only one that matters.

And they have been connected with Mexican extremists who want to take back the land lost in the Mexican war of 1846-48. (You know, the Mormon Battalion war.)

Charles Norwood, a Republican Congressman from Georgia (now deceased), made several allegations about the group in recent years, including the notion that they were exclusionary, even racist.

Here’s La Raza’s own explanation (no charge for the free spin):

Now, in the above explanation they explain that La Raza means “the people” or “community”. I checked six on line Spanish-to-English sources and three dictionaries at home. They all said the same thing. La Raza means race or breed, which agrees with my 25 credit hours of college Spanish and my 3.5 rating in the foreign service language exam.

I love it when organizations try to appear mainstream, even if it means jettisoning some core beliefs.

Now, La Raza is supported by foundations and grants and tax money. They are a legitimate organization. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez is a member. Three weeks after his confirmation he went to a La Raza event and declared, “I have this organization to thank for support of my nomination for attorney general.”

And Karl Rove was wetting himself over all those Hispanic voters who would become loyal Republicans. (Now there’s another institution that sold out its core beliefs on its way to the middle.)

When they start digging wells in Africa, building hospitals, and giving scholarships to white kids, then I’ll consider their claim that they are mainstream. As long as they rent busses to haul protesters to pro-illegal alien rallies, pay them stipends to protest, and mingle among the crowd registering voters, I’m thinking The Race is a pretty good name for them.

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