Why do Hispanics call themselves la raza if Hispanics are not a race?

Spanish for “race,” the term la raza was first popularized by Chicano political activists in the 1960s.

Used originally to refer to people of Mexican descent, it is now accepted by many other Hispanic Americans. To be part of la raza suggests not so much skin color as unity of origin and purpose, along with a sense of belonging to a common culture.

“A simple definition of the Hispanic could be: a person with a willingness to mix and therefore a person with a disposition to create new types of human relationships and new types of cultural forms, or to develop new perceptions of man and reality. Color to us is an accident, not a definition of the human person.”

-Puerto Rican historian, Arturo Morales Carrion

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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