The Spanish expression La Raza ("the Race") refers to the Hispanophone populations, considered as an ethnic or racial unity historically deriving from the Spanish Empire...It remains in active use specifically in Mexico and in the context of Mexican American identity politics in the United States.
Mexican writer José Vasconcelos proposed the term La Raza Cósmica ("the Cosmic Race") in 1925. The term Chicano likewise arises in the early 20th century as a designation of Mexicans. In the 1960s to 1970s, the term became associated with a movement of Mexican-American identity politics activism. In the United States, the terms La Raza and Chicano subsequently became closely associated.
Various Hispanic groups in the United States still use the term. The Raza Unida Party was active as a political party representing Mexican American racial identity politics in the 1970s. The Hispanic advocacy organization National Council of La Raza was formed in 1968.
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF LA RAZA (NCLR)
1126 16th Street, NW - Suite 600
Controversy over the Name “La Raza”
The words “La Raza” (Spanish for “The Race”) in NCLR's name have long been a source of considerable controversy. Critics claim that the name reflects an organizational commitment to racial separatism and race-based grievance mongering.
According to NCLR, “the full term,” which was coined by the Mexican scholar (and Mexican secretary of public education) José Vasconcelos (1882-1959), is “la raza cósmica,” meaning “the cosmic people.”
As Guillermo Lux and Maurilio Vigil (professors of history and political science, respectively, at New Mexico Highlands University) note in their 1991 book, Aztlan: Essays on the Chicano Homeland:
Quote:"The concept of La Raza can be traced to the ideas and writings of Jose Vasconcelos, the Mexican theorist who developed the theory of la raza cosmica (the cosmic or super race) at least partially as a minority reaction to the Nordic notions of racial superiority. Vasconelos developed a systematic theory which argued that climatic and geographic conditions and mixture of Spanish and Indian races created a superior race. The concept of La Raza connotes that the mestizo [of mixed race, usually the child of a person of Spanish descent and an American Indian] is a distinct race and not Caucasian, as is technically the case."
Aztlán emerges throughout these essays as one of the Chicano Movement's fundamental ideological constructs. ...
A valuable work for those interested in Chicano, ethnic and southwestern studies." -- Books of the Southwest