Wednesday, August 8, 2007

¡que Viva La Raza!

Back in the 80´s I wrote a letter to the editor of my local newspaper complaining that I was labeled Mexican American and people would not allow me to say “American” without asking, “Yes, but what are you?”

An African American gentleman replied to my letter and said, “Stop complaining about it. Rejoice in your ethnicity. There is something “cozy” about being part of a minority group.”

I took his comments to heart. From that point on, I did not bluster about the label. I knew I was American. In the nineties, I started writing down my family history. I completed the first draft of my book in 1998. I´ve added, edited, written and re-written my book several times. Now I am studying my Dad´s roots. I am connecting, relating and embracing my ancestors´history and our culture.

La Raza is our culture, our history, our blood, our sweat, our tears and every step we have taken to come to the point we have reached today. That is what Latin people mean when they say “Que Viva La Raza.” La Raza is all Latin people, not just Mexicans or Mexican Americans. I have heard these words spoken by George Lopez, Carlos Mencia, Jennifer Lopez, Jimmy Smits, Eva Longoria and more. They are of several Latin ethnicities, but all say the same words.

“¡que Viva La Raza!”

I understand this term and I agree with the true meaning.


mirrorism said...

I can understand the effort, but, IMO, it complicates the issues. You can explain why people should not feel uncomfortable with the use of the term "La Raza" till the end of time, but not everyone will understand it or better, accept it.

Like this person:

"Regardless of what you say, the term "The Race" would not be accepted if "white people" decided to call themselves "The Race". Can you imagine the uproar? "We are "The Race"......--No, that would not sit very well with most people."

That's just silly, I know, nonetheless, that person will never understand and/or accept the use of the term La Raza.

Similar to how people can't understand why only black people can say the N word. Which led to the Don Imus brouhaha a few months back. This extends to everyone else; Carlos Mencia can say "beaner"; Jeff Foxworthy can say "redneck"; a homosexual comic can say "fag"; etc. etc.

So, what do you do? IMO, you stop using the complicating term and hope that it eventually experiences extinction.

Dee said...

Mirror, On the one hand, I agree with all you said. On the other, if we limit our language to please everyone, then we will be left to "Hello" and "Good-bye."

When I was in SA last week to visit my mom, one afternoon my sister and I decided to go to a club and meet some friends. It was a club where they had a band playing cumbias and all dance songs Latin. As the singers were singing their "gritos" I kept thinking about the ANTIs and how they would be in utter shock over the gall of a group of people dancing to this music vs a hoe down. These dances happen every afternoon and it is very pleasant. Sometimes, I just don´t understand the ANTIs anger.

Anonymous said...

Can a non-latino person belong to La Raza? Can only Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans etc belong to La Raza? What if a group
was formed called "The Race" and the only qualification was to be white? You could be of any descent but you could not be African American, be of any Latino group or Asian, lets say. "The Race" would sound pretty racist, don't you think?

Also, do you think every anti-illegal person goes to "hoe downs"?
That's sounds pretty racist on your part. Everyone, including you can listen to any music they prefer. A lot of anti-illegal people like all kinds of music. I am sure you like hispanic music as well as the Beatles, etc. Am I wrong?

Dee said...

Mr/Ms. Anonymous,
The American Latinos like visitors. They never exclude. At the afternoon cumbia dance, everyone was welcome. There were mostly Latinos, but there were African American and Asian and Northern European ethnicities.

You see, La Raza never excludes. Just includes. We do hoe downs too.

The difference is, we are welcoming and do not demonize.

Anonymous said...

I welcome all immigrants who come to this country legally. I am not a racist. I would have been dancing along side you at the cumbia dance. I love all kinds of music and love to dance.

Dee said...

I officially invite you to come to the Cumbia dance and dance with me during my next visit. Are you going to lead? Or shall we cumbia side by side?

Dee said...

My favorite music? Karaoke. I love to sing and I am a big ham, of course.

I sing Patsy Cline, Martina McBride, the Judds and much more. I favor country, but sing oldies and disco too.

ultima said...

How about Que viva America! Has a nice ring to it doesn't it and it's less devisive. Que viva La Raza reminds of something like Deutschland Uber Alles!

Anonymous said...

You complained about being labeled a Mexican American and yet that is the name you chose for your blog?

Bob said...

Sure, be as racist as you like.

Somehow your anti-"anglo" racism doesn't play well for most Americans.

Dee said...

Bob Dear, Read the words. I try to explain. Besides, you know you like me!!

Manuel said...

-Que viva la raza! A white person or a black person can be part of La Raza! It's not like the nazi's it's more of an emotional bond as opposed to a race.
-The term La Raza just doesn't translate over to English. Some words are just like that. Americans take it out of context. It causes hate but the word was never meant to be a battle cry it's just like saying I love you brother. Whether Hispanic or of any nationallity. If your cool with me and got my back than you are a paisa to me.

westernstarland said...

I looooove this comment.

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