Memo From Middle America (Formerly Known As Memo From Mexico) | Yes, La Raza Really Does Mean "The Race"—And The Idea Was Invented By a Nazi Sympathizer

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) calls itself "The largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization…" It agitates against controlling immigration and in favor of amnesty for illegal aliens.

This NCLR supports driver's licenses and in-state tuition for illegal aliens and opposes a border fence, secure voter ID and state laws that fight illegal immigration and bilingual education. And its "We Can Stop the Hate" campaign seeks to shut down your right to oppose illegal immigration. It worked on Lou Dobbs!

In short, NCLR is a radical anti-American organization. Its funding, by the way, mostly comes from corporations, with some from the federal government.

Many immigration patriots have taken to calling the NCLR the "National Council of the Race". A white organization would never be allowed to use "the race" in its title, now would it?  In this day and age, to be called "racist" (as defined by the multicultural left) is the biggest sin in American politics and can destroy your career.

But does la raza really mean "the race"?

The NCLR says it doesn't. Here's the organization's official explanation

"THE TRANSLATION OF OUR NAME: NATIONAL COUNCIL OF LA RAZA: 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.' Translating our name as 'the race' is not only inaccurate, it is factually incorrect. 'Hispanic' is an ethnicity, not a race. As anyone who has ever met a Dominican American, Mexican American, or Spanish American can attest, Hispanics can be and are members of any and all races."

Let's assume for a moment that this explanation is correct. Let's assume that la raza can be translated as "the people" or "the community".

From the point of view of patriotic immigration reform and the defense of the historic American nation, is that any better?

If La Raza calls itself "the people" or "the community", it is certainly NOT referring to the historical American "people" or "community". Rather, it is setting itself and its clients up as a "people" and a "community" whose interests conflict with those of the American people.

Otherwise, why would they need a separate organization to support themselves?

So, back to the word "raza". What does it really mean?

I consulted the Real Academia Española. That's the "Royal Academy of the Spanish Language", founded in 1713 in Madrid, Spain. The Royal Academy is the highest authority of the Spanish language. What does the Academy say about the term raza?

The first definition given by the Royal Academy:

  • "Casta o calidad del origen o linaje." That means "caste or quality of the origin or lineage".

Sounds like a race.

The second meaning:

  • "Cada uno de los grupos en que se subdividen algunas especies biológicas y cuyos caracteres diferenciales se perpetúan por herencia." Translation: "Each one of the groups in which some biological species are subdivided and whose differential characteristics are perpetuated by inheritance."

That's race too.

According to the Academy, the term la raza can refer to the "human race", or to a breed of animals (such as fox terriers or Holsteins).

The term has other meanings unrelated to our discussion: "a crack", "a ray of light that penetrates an opening", "a crack that forms in a cavalry helmet", "a part of a fabric", and a general term meaning a "quality of certain things, in relation to certain characteristics that define it". These are unconnected meanings, like "horse race" or "mill race" in English.

None of the Academy-approved definitions would be translated into English as "people" or "community".

Besides, there are other, perfectly good Spanish words that could mean "people" or "community"—such as pueblo, gente or communidad.

Granted, no dictionary can completely cover all the nuances of a language. And meanings of words can vary according to context and usage.

But that brings us back to square one. If la raza really means "people" or "community", why then does the NCLR persist in using the word raza?

Americans, after all, get hysterical about the term "race". So why does the NCLR insist upon using the Spanish equivalent?

Why don't they call their group "The National Council of the Community" or "The National Council of the People"?

No, they insist upon using the term la raza. Indeed, the group's title is actually a peculiar linguistic hybrid, combining English (The National Council of…) and Spanish (…la raza).

I ask again—why do they insist upon using the term la raza?

Well, my friends, there is a reason. And the NCLR tells us in the second paragraph of the aforementioned document THE TRANSLATION OF OUR NAME:

"The term 'La Raza' has its origins in early 20th century Latin American literature and translates into English most closely as 'the people' or, according to some scholars, as 'the Hispanic people of the New World.' 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.

Aha ! Now we have something much more concrete!

By NCLR's own admission, if we want to know what it means by la raza, we can see what Jose Vasconcelos meant by la raza.

(In a similar fashion, those who wish to know Barack Obama's racial ideology can read Obama's own writing, or read Steve Sailer's book America's Half-Blood Prince since Steve read and analyzed Obama's autobiography.)

Jose Vasconcelos was a Mexican intellectual who lived from 1882 to 1959. He was, at various times, Mexico's secretary of education, the president of Mexico's national educational institution the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico), and an unsuccessful candidate for president. See photos here and here.

In the 1920s Vasconcelos penned his seminal essay La Raza Cósmica (The Cosmic Race) which NCLR cites. The la raza doctrine was influential not only in Mexico—Vasconcelos traveled throughout Latin America sharing it. Several decades later, in 1948, he revised his essay and re-published it.

I read the essay (in Spanish of course). I found it quite interesting. Some of it was brilliant, some was absurd, some incoherent. Vasconcelos was interested in establishing a Latin American identity. He wasn't just interested in Mexico, but in a civilizational vision for all of Latin America.

Vasconcelos saw conflict between Latin America and the U.S. as a continuation of the centuries´ long struggle between Spain and England, going all the way back to the Spanish Armada days. Throughout his essay, he uses the terms sajones, inglesas and yanquis interchangeably. Vasconcelos describes the struggle thusly,

"Pugna de latinidad contra sajonismo ha llegado a ser, sigue siendo nuestra época; pugna de instituciones, de propósitos y de ideales." (The struggle of Latinity against Saxonism has come to be, and continues being in our era, a struggle of institutions, of purposes and of ideals).

I think Vasconcelos was right about this. There is a centuries-long rivalry between the Latin and Anglo-Saxon cultures which from time to time has erupted in all-out war. With good leadership, open conflict could be avoided and our interests protected. But today's U.S. leaders are in open surrender mode.

What Vasconcelos says is not that different from what Samuel Huntington described as the "Clash of Civilizations". Ironically, Huntington was lambasted as a "racist" by some of the same people who admire Vasconcelos.

In 1588, the Spanish Armada attempted to conquer England but failed. Vasconcelos called the defeat of the Armada a "disaster". Note that the Armada's defeat paved for the way for English settlement of the 13 Colonies (beginning with Jamestown) which were the foundation of the U.S.A.

I guess if you wish the U.S. had never been founded you'd retroactively root for the Armada.

Vasconcelos also regretted the fact that the British won at Trafalgar, defeating a combined French/Spanish fleet. That too was another defeat for the Latins.

Although Vasconcelos wished Napoleon had won in Europe, he criticized him for selling the Louisiana Territory to the U.S.—which extended the domain of the Anglo-Saxons and set up the easy conquests of Texas and California

Vasconcelos writes about "the Saxon—our rival for possession of the continent", and of "the old conflict of Latins and Saxons". The Anglo-Saxons are called "our enemies".

Remember that the NCLR claims to derive its understanding of the term la raza from Vasconcelos. That must mean they too see themselves as Hispanic warriors infiltrating the Anglosphere.

Carlos Fuentes, Mexico's premier living man of letters, has spoken of the Spanish language and its "silent reconquista of the United States" (not just the Southwest !) and compared it to the conquest of Mexico five centuries ago.[El español, "esperanto" de las comunidades indígenas de América, señala Carlos Fuentes, By Armando G. Tejeda, La Jornada, October 20th, 2001] (See my 2002 article Spanish and the New Conquistadors.)

Mexico's previous president, Vicente Fox, has boasted that Mexicans who speak Spanish in the U.S. are doing their patriotic duty (to Mexico, of course) and complained about Anglo-Saxons not getting with the globalization program fast enough.

And how about the NCLR, self-confessed followers of Jose Vasconcelos?

Well, in the 1990s, the organization's longtime president Raul Yzaguirre declared that "US English [the organization] is to Hispanics as the Ku Klux Klan is to blacks."

US English, by the way, is an organization whose only goal is to promote English as our official language. What's wrong with that? Well, if you're part of the centuries' long struggle between the Latins and the Anglo-Saxons, and you're on the Latin side, it makes perfect sense to oppose it.

Now let´s look at the "race" thing. NCLR says that Spanish-speakers are of mixed origins, therefore "la raza" can't mean race when it refers to them.

But that assertion contradicts Vasconcelos' doctrine.

Vasconcelos divided humanity into five races (razas).

The four traditional races are (1) the Negro, (2) the rojo or indio (meaning American Indian), (3) the amarillo (yellow) or mogol (mongol), and (4) the blanco (white).

Then there is the fifth razala raza cósmica, the cosmic race. This race, says Vasconcelos, is still being formed. It is "una estirpe [stock, lineage] en formación". It is being formed in Latin America, by the mixture of the four traditional races. In the words of the essay, this new race will be "the union of all men in a fifth universal race, fruit of the previous [races] and an improvement [superación] over all the past [races]."

It's obvious that Vasconcelos saw this new fifth race as a superior form of humanity. And the genesis of the new race, this new humanity, would be accompanied by a new, Aquarian-like age of free will, beauty, jubilation and love. Mates would be chosen on the basis of emotion, beauty and joy, to bring about a superior eugenics, in which physical ugliness would be bred out of the human species.

Vasconcelos went on for several paragraphs about the ugliness thing. He complained about the current state in which " it is repugnant to see these married couples who come out daily from the courts and churches [where they were married] with 90% of those contracting marriage, more or less, being ugly."

Vasconcelos was presumably referring to his fellow Mexicans—saying 90% of them were ugly!

But in the new age of the Fifth Race, for some unexplained reason, the ugly people will not procreate, says Vasconcelos. Dominant genes will triumph over recessive genes, monstrosities will disappear, and the offspring will be beautiful children, leading to an "infinitely superior type to all that have existed ".

Vasconcelos predicted that the U.S. would be the last white empire. But he still thought that whites had an important historical role in bringing about the genesis of the cosmic race. After all, the age of exploration of whites had set up the racial mixture in Latin America.

And despite the fact that Vasconcelos predicted this utopian world of love and harmony, the contributions of the four traditional races to the fifth race would not be equal. In fact, Vasconcelos said the white character would probably predominate.

Vasconcelos thought the Indians needed to modernize. He didn't talk much about the Orientals, although there has been some East Asian immigration to Latin America. However, even Vasconcelos defended Latin American restrictions on Chinese immigration. It's not that Latins were being discriminatory like the Saxons up north. It's just that they had to restrict Asian immigration sometimes because, he wrote, "it's not fair that peoples like the Chinese…multiply like mice…" (Long before the "One Child" policy of course).

As for blacks, Vasconcelos thought that some of their characteristics would have to be eliminated, bred out in the great race mixture taking place. Comparing the situation of American blacks and Latin American blacks, he wrote that "In the Iberoamerican world…we have few Negroes and most of them have been transforming into mulattos."

Vasconcelos even wrote that

"The low types of the species will be absorbed by the superior type. In this way the Negro, for example, can be redeemed and, little by little, through voluntary extinction, the ugliest stocks will be less prolific, and the better specimens will yield to the more beautiful. The inferior races, when educated, will be less prolific, and the better specimens will ascend in a scale of ethnic improvement. Their type will not exactly be the white, but this new raza, to which the white himself will have to aspire with the object of conquering the synthesis. The Indian, by means of the injection of a similar race, will make the jump of myriad years … and in a few decades of aesthetic eugenics the Negro can disappear together with the types which the free instinct of beauty will designate as fundamentally recessive and unworthy…of perpetuation."

Not exactly politically correct, is it? If a contemporary American wrote this, what would the NCLR and the NAACP say about it?

Vasconcelos also wrote in his essay that the ancient Egyptians were more intelligent than contemporary Anglo-Saxons. And he wrote that "any professor can prove that the groups of children and youth descended from Scandinavians, Dutch and English of the American universities are much more slow, almost clumsy, compared with the children and mestizo youth of the south."

Vasconcelos predicted that Latin American civilization would contribute to world technology in a great way. That's because much of the region lies in the tropics and they would thus be forced to invent new technologies to deal with the heat. And he said that the Amazon and Orinoco basins would become centers of great advances.

It hasn't exactly happened yet. Nor has racial mixture produced an explosion of love, harmony and brotherhood in Latin America. You certainly don't see it in Mexico, where drug cartels are butchering each other.

Vasconcelos wasn't too clear on the fate of the four traditional races, but it seems he was predicting that they would eventually be absorbed into the fifth race and cease to exist as separate races. Presumably everybody would then speak Spanish and Portuguese.

So do we have any choice in the matter? What if we don't want our culture absorbed into the "Cosmic Race"?

And here's another thing you're not likely to see on the NCLR website: In 1940, while World War II was already raging in Europe, on this side of the pond, in Mexico, Jose Vasconcelos was a Nazi sympathizer.

Yes, that's right. Vasconcelos was the editor of Timón, a magazine sponsored by the German embassy in Mexico. Some of the articles in that publication, written by Vasconcelos and others, were cheering on the Axis powers, attacking the Jews and quoting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

This went on until it was shut down by the Mexican government.

Today the NCLR, the Southern Poverty Law Center ($PLC) and their ilk publicize all sorts of supposed connections, tenuous though they may be, between immigration patriots and extremists, in order to discredit us and shut us down.

But here is the National Council of La Raza basing its doctrine on the writings of a man who was, for a time, an open Nazi sympathizer!

Is that blatant hypocrisy, or what?

American citizen Allan Wall (email him) recently moved back to the U.S.A. after many years residing in Mexico. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Mexidata.info articles are archived here and his website is here.