In Friday’s Wall Street Journal, Janet Murguía had an ostensibly sensible enough op-ed, “Hispanic Values Are American Values” — arguing that Americans wrongly see “Latinos” as “foreigners,” “aliens,” and “others.”
“It’s time for people to stop thinking about Latinos as “foreigners”, “aliens”, or “others” and start thinking of us as their fellow workers, classmates, colleagues, worshipers, neighbors, friends, and families.”
Aside from the fact that some 10–14 million “Latinos” are, in fact, “aliens,” as properly described by legal statute rather than prejudicial slurs, the essay is a good-hearted reminder that few Americans should wish to see anyone separated by racial divides. But why then, a mere eight lines below that noble sentiment, does Ms. Murguía sign off as “President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza”?
I cannot think of any more divisive notion than an American lobbying group self-identifying itself as “The National Council of ‘the Race.’” Of course, La Razistas have long argued that, by simple fiat, their “Raza” does not quite mean race any more, though all classic Spanish dictionaries argue otherwise and there are plenty of other terms in Spanish for “people” or “community” that do not convey such an additional racial component. The truth is that La Raza is an ossified 1960s buzz-term of racial chauvinism that has no place in the sort of inclusive society that Ms. Murguía now eloquently argues for. So that begs the question, why not simply drop it and start thinking of Americans as “fellows” rather than enclaves permanently divided by race /raza?