So we all knew that the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor would bring the extreme attacks from the usual crowd. What we didn’t know is exactly how far they would go.
Last week, Tom Tancredo (the ever-present anti-immigrant xenophobe from Colorado) called the National Council of La Raza (who Sotomayor is affiliated with) “‘a Latino KKK without the hoods and the nooses”. This attack on NCLR, which is a Latino advocacy organization that does great work to aid in education and civil rights for Latinos and people of color in the United States, is based solely on the inclusion of “La Raza” (the race) in their title.
This outburst was reprehensible not only to Hispanics and communities of color, but to all Americans who want to put this ugly chapter of our history behind us.
Check out the video below to see Janet Murguia, the president and CEO of the NCLR, respond to Tancredo’s outrageous claims.
Help stop the smear campaign against Sotomayor and NCLR by signing THIS PETITION to Chairman Michael Steele of the RNC to condemn these statements as soon as possible.
And, for the record, from TPM:
A literal translation [of La Raza] is “The Race” (according to their Web site, other possibilities include “the people” and “the community”) and in the full linguistic context it refers essentially to advancing the civil rights and economic opportunities of Latinos. As a comparison, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People does not propose to oppress non-blacks, and the American Jewish Committee doesn’t aim to keep the Gentiles down.
And, as a Latin American Studies student, I know that “La Raza” comes from “La Raza Cosmica”, a term coined by Jose Vasconcelos, a Mexican intelectual in an essay from 1925. Vasconcelos’ notion of the “cosmic race” was the combination of various races and ethnicities into one “cosmic” people or community. His term actually blurs racial lines, as opposed to sharpening them. Maybe this should be some required reading for Mr. Tancredo…