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La Raza is a Spanish language term translating to "The Race, Spanish raza having the meaning of "race, ethnicity; breed, strain, lineage". The term expresses ethnic or racial pride, and is used with somewhat different shades of meaning in Spain and in Hispanic America.
In Spain, raza denotes specifically Spanish or European Christian (Roman Catholic) heritage. The Francoist film Raza, from 1944, which celebrates ideally Spanish national qualities, is an example of this usage.
In Latin America, la raza may emphasize Spanish and European heritage, or it may express Latino (Hispanic) identity (La Raza being short for La Raza Hispánica). Dia de la Raza marks the arrival of Christopher Columbus to America. La Raza Pura ("the Pure Race") may also express Latino supremacism over Anglo-Saxon, Asian or African racial backgrounds in the Americas. The term is also used by the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group in the United States. "La Raza" is a popular song among Mexicans and Mexican-Americans recorded by the Mexican-American rapper Kid Frost and released in 1990.
In his 1925 book, La Raza Cósmica (English: The Cosmic Race), Mexican writer José Vasconcelos described La Raza Cosmica as the product of gradual racial mixing that was already underway in the Latin world. Vasconcelos believed that eventually all of the people within the former Spanish Empire would be completely mixed into a new race (see also The Race of the Future).
Since the early 20th century, the cognate term "the Race" was used to refer to African Americans in a similar way – to show racial supremacism or essentialism, c.f. terms "race music" and "race records" for music of the era targeted at this demographic.
- Race and ethnicity in Latin America
- Raza Unida Party
- Bidal Aguero
- The Clash of Civilizations