Shortly after President Obama nominated Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, I wrote La Raza a letter. They never responded to my letter or even acknowledged it. Here is a copy of the letter I sent them:
Because of Obama’s recent nomination of Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, and the media discussion of her membership in “La Raza”, I went to your web site to see if I could get some information on what kind of an organization you are — from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.
Reading in your “viewpoints” open letter, I was interested in what you had to say about your name and how your adversaries mistranslate it. The paragraph I refer to, copied from your site, is:
“We recognize that some people might be confused about our organization’s name, our mission, and our work. Much of this is understandable. Compared to some of our venerable counterparts in the civil rights and advocacy community, we are a relatively young institution representing Latinos, a historically disadvantaged and often misunderstood ethnic minority. We have a Spanish term in our name, “La Raza” (meaning “the people” or “community”), which is often mistranslated. Furthermore, we are engaged in some of the most controversial issues of our time, which we believe is essential if we are to stay true to our mission.”
I want to make clear that I am not a linguistic expert. I studied Spanish as an elective foreign language for two years in high school. When I read your paragraph above, I recalled the terms, “el gente” and “el pueblo” meaning “the people”. So I looked in The New World Spanish/English English/Spanish Dictionary , second edition, 1996 published by New American Library, a division of Penguin Group USA INC. (On the cover of my copy it says, “The most up to date, most detailed dictionary of its kind…”) Their definition for “la raza” is, “1, race. 2, lineage. 3, breed; sort.” Looking further, I found the definition for people is, “1, (group; tribe; nation) pueblo; gente. 2, pl. (populace) pueblo; masas; gente…” I guess my memory isn’t too bad por el vocabulario. Finally, the definition for community is, “1, (group of persons; locality) communidad; publico; colectividad; sociedad…”
Nowhere to be found was a connection, as you state in the above cited paragraph, between “la raza” and “the people” or “the community”. One must assume that your use of the term, la raza is from a limited, colloquial vernacular. When I say, “limited” I mean the only people who think la raza means the people are latino racists, and frankly, “La Raza” is extremely offensive to non-latinos. If you had any multi-cultural sensitivity, you would see how offensive and racist “La Raza” is and change the name of your organization to something a bit less “in your face”.
But I know you will not do that because you are part of the anti-American Culture movement. You are hand in glove with Obama and the like, who will not rest until our freedoms are replaced with their socialist/communist agenda. I stand against them and you. I am your enemy. I am an American (that means Norte Americano). I welcome all who agree with the laws of this nation. But I am opposed to all who come here illegally and flout our laws and culture. I hate racism in all forms and you should examine yourselves for the racism you exhibit. “La Raza” is unAmerican in the truest sense.