Phi Beta Cons

Roots of La Raza

The Hispanic advocacy organization known as the National Council of La Raza grew from the radical Chicano movement of the late 1960s, which was inspired in part by Mexican intellectual Jose Vasconcelos and his notion of “la raza cosmica,” a superior “cosmic” race resulting from the intermingling of the Indians of Latin America with the Spanish. 

According to a backgrounder from the Center for Immigration Studies by journalist Jerry Kammer, La Raza retains more than a vestige of its roots.  Aside from clinging to its name, “the race,” with its linkage to a militant Latino motto, “For the race, everything, outside the race, nothing,” La Raza gave its 1994 “Chicano Hero Award” to Jose Angel Gutierrez, a political-science professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, and a past director of its Mexican-American Studies Center, who memorably said in 1969, “We have got to eliminate the gringo, and what I mean by that is if the worst comes to the worst, we have got to kill him.”

But let’s be fair.  By 1994, the year in which he received his La Raza award, Gutierrez had matured beyond advocacy of genocide to mere gleeful anticipation of the extinction of the white race: “We are millions. We just have to survive. We have an aging white America. They are not making babies. They are dying. It’s a matter of time. The explosion is in our population.” 

In 2001, Gutierrez published a revised and expanded version of his 1974 book, A Gringo Manual on How to Handle Mexicans, and in 2003, he issued a companion volume, A Chicano Manual on How to Handle Gringos, which, the publisher brightly informs us, “is a wonderful survey of the Chicano and Latino community on the move in all spheres of life in the United States on the very eve of its demographic and cultural ascendancy.”  

In 2004, La Raza’s Chicano hero spoke at the “Latino Civil Rights Summit” in Kansas City, where he stated: “We are the future of America. Unlike any prior generation, we now have the critical mass. We’re going to Latinize this country.”

And yet, even with such unsavory taints in its background, La Raza continues as a mainstream lobbying organization and pressure group, playing a double game, advancing Hispanic group interests and political power under the cover of  tolerance, “civil rights,” and America’s universal ideals.   

And it seem to be having an effect.  On a Broadway bus recently, an MTA official came on board to give some information to the passengers and he did so in English.  “En espagnol,” cried a passenger, and as she continued to rage angrily in Spanish, her companion instructed us in minimal and halting English, “There are two languages in the United States, and you have to have both” (a lesson  evidently lost on  her friend.)  

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