Is Saying, 'Viva la Raza!' Racist?

[¡Ask a Mexican!] And why are Mexicans now the fattest people in the world?

DEAR MEXICAN: I'm curious as to the meaning of the term "viva la raza" that I have often heard expressed by my friends and family. I know what it translates to, but I don't know why we say it. I happen to be what some call a "half-breed," and therein lies my dilemma. "Viva La Raza" implies that the person who says this or their audience is of a certain "race." My mother's family is from the state of Georgia and of French, Scottish and English descent, whereas my father's family hails from New Mexico and has been in the northern part of that great state since 1627; if you count my indio ancestors (who are undoubtedly a part of my lineage as my grandmother is short and brown), my family has been in the Santa Fe area prior to European settlement in the Americas. This makes my father's people mestizos. In addition, my family may also be Jewish. It has come to light that many of the old Hispanic families of northern New Mexico are descendants of the "hidden" Sephardim Jews who pretended to be Catholic and moved to the New World in order to escape the Spanish Inquisition. In addition, aren't most Hispanics (those who hail from north of the border) and Mexicans (from south of the border) mestizos, and didn't most of the Indians get killed by the Spaniards and Anglos? If so, "raza" or "race" seems to be artificial and really doesn't mean anything. Furthermore, I think this is true the world over with all of the so-called "races." It seems to me that we are all half-breeds, mestizo, métis, mulattos or whatever you want to call us. It is my understanding that the human race is the only race, and that we all came "out of Africa."

With this in mind, shouldn't we do away with "Viva La Raza" and come up with something new . . . perhaps "viva la herencia" or "viva la gente"?

Numexihillbilly

Mark Dancey

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DEAR WAB: So many questions, so little time! I'll just concentrate on the viva part, since the rest of your pregunta rumbles along like a Big Jim chile in a gabacho's panza. No one is going to rally under slogans that translate as "Long live the heritage" or "Up with people"—they're too fresa. And while I'm with you on the whole chinga tu madre toward racial classifications, "viva la raza" will never be dropped, nor should it. It ties anyone who says it back to the Chicano Movement, from where the term originated (the earliest citation I can find was in a 1966 Los Angeles Times article that quoted legendary activist Bert Corona as exclaiming during a fund-raising dinner in LA, "Viva la causa, viva la raza, y viva la unidad"—"Long live the cause, long live la raza, and long live unity"). The raza part connects the slogan to the idea of la raza cósmica—the Cosmic Race, the idea put forth by Vasconcelos of a day when humanity trumps the antiquated razas of the Enlightenment. The viva part is a direct descendent of the Grito de Dolores, the proclamation issued by Miguel Hidalgo ushering in Mexico's War of Independence. It might seem strange to have non-Mexis shout, "¡Viva la raza!" in this egalitarian society, but Mexicans don't find it racist or exclusionary because it isn't—after all, we all have enough female cousins who have married gabachos and bedded enough gabachitas to make us like y'all enough.

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A QUICK NOTE ON MEXICANS BEING THE FATTEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD: Some of ustedes have sent me reports stating that Americans are no longer the fattest people in the world; Mexicans are. My reaction: Who says Mexicans don't assimilate?

 
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23 comments
alexk7
alexk7

Think ZARAZA.  It's a Russian word meaning diseased.  From what I understand, Mexicans are even detested by all other South/Latin Americans.  They can go ahead and try to boost their self esteem by calling themselves "The Race."  They are only kidding themselves and displaying their overt racist mentality.  Idiot gangsters shave their heads.  Along with La Raza, it seems they are just immitating Aryan Skinheads.  So, call them zaraza since it's much more fitting for these filthy, classless invaders.

And, by the way, for zaraza Mexicans who believe in reconquista (re conquering California), THEY NEVER OWNED IT!  It belonged to SPAIN when Spain kicked the hell out of Mexico's ass and then went north into California.  SPAIN sold their CONQUERED land to the U.S. and Mexico had nothing to do with it.  Now idiots think they have the right to California.  That's how incredibly stupid they are.  Damned Zaraza.

leoqaf
leoqaf

Here in Mexico people say mi raza meaning "my people", they don't mean all mexicans or all hispanics. "My people" refers to people who are like me, think like me, sympathize with me or sometimes just my family and friends. 

And it's not the first time Mexico is at the top of the fattest countries in the world. But I think that list only takes into account the percentage of people who are overweight in a country, not how overweight they are. If they messured how overweight people are, I think the US would still be number one.

Vawlkee
Vawlkee

Hey Gus baby, can you spell racist? I can: G-U-S-T-A-V-O!

Last time I looked, the city you were born in, Anaheim was still in the US.

STOPTHERECONQUISTA
STOPTHERECONQUISTA

It is racist. ...and moreover, it is USED in a racist way...at least be honest.

Jesus Archuleta
Jesus Archuleta

The Late Eddie Guerrero used to say it all the time and even a white majority would always say it at wrestling events that was great to hear

Jerry Vazquez
Jerry Vazquez

Chales, Never ese. Viva La Rasa Cabrones and to all my Rasa venganse a los estados rovados que aqui los esperamos con brasos aviertos! AJUAAA Viva La Rasa!

Frank Zamora
Frank Zamora

I'll drop Viva La Raza when they drop God Bless America.

abbyta
abbyta

The National University of Mexico, or UNAM, motto, “The spirit shall speak for my race” (“Por mi raza hablará el espíritu”), unveils its humanist vocation. José Vasconcelos, the UNAM Director in 1920, was the author of this phrase. It was in hopeful times, after the triumph of the Mexican revolution, with full-fledged confidence in the Motherland, and a redeeming courage in the air, Vasconcelos, “the Professor of America,”  was first to explain: it means the belief that our race will construct a culture of new trends with the most spiritual and freest of essence”. Later, he said: “So I viewed the university coat of arms presented to the Council, rough and with a legend ‘The spirit shall speak for my race, which means a new awakening after a long night of oppression.”

Will Webb
Will Webb

Mexico IS NOT the fattest country in the world... I travel back and forth, and people there still have the shape of fit, healthy individuals... and as soon as I come back to the USA, I see a ton of really large people everywhere... That information is tainted, and it is most surely done with the intent to distract from the true obesity epidemic in the USA.. or is it that being super sized in the US is now the norm??? you don't find Big and Tall clothes stores in Mexico anywhere... its all a lie. USA is still the Country where people fight for their right to drink Super Gulp sized drinks, which would serve a family of 6 in Mexico.

Martin Gilbert
Martin Gilbert

no problem juz hating by people think as a radical or outdated political and cultural chant, wrong it juz a term of UNITED and PROUDFUL RAZAthat identify mostly as MEXICAN or LATINO heritage!

Tia Brenda
Tia Brenda

thank you for the chicano history lesson. it's been a while. also, for mexicanos often the term 'raza' means people or family or kids like in the sentence, "ya llego Almita con toda su raza" so when I say 'viva la raza', (which I hardly ever do, because I prefer other chants like '2,4,6, 8 fuck the police' state or 'we're here, we're queer, get used to it!' as my go to's for any demo I attend) I never think im saying 'long live the race', that would be lame.

Carlos Capone
Carlos Capone

Viva La Raza has nothing to do with race La Raza just translate The People and it is used to unify all people in Mexico regardless of ethnic background.

armandocdll81
armandocdll81

Viva US Border Patrol! Viva Joe Arpaio! Viva Secure Communities! Viva Viva Viva!!!

dylant2012
dylant2012

@Jerry Vazquez  Raza* robados* brazos* abiertos*

STOPTHERECONQUISTA
STOPTHERECONQUISTA

@Frank Zamora what an ingrate. You don't deserve to be in this country.


but at least you're honest.

BillxT
BillxT topcommenter

@Rebecca Baeza Villegas Poorer people tend to be over weight because cheap foods tend to be fattening foods. Read "empty calories".

BillxT
BillxT topcommenter

@William Webb Dodd you're going by anecdotal personal experience, sorry, but not necessarily all that accurate. That said, the researchers aren't saying, "look how fucked-up Mexicans are, they're even fatter than we are', the message is that we have a problem and it needs to be brought under control.

 
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