The term originated in the 1925 book, La Raza Cósmica (English: The Cosmic Race) by the Mexican writer José Vasconcelos. He described la Raza Cósmica as the product of gradual racial mixing that was already underway in the Hispanic world. Vasconcelos believed that eventually all of the people within the former Spanish Empire would be completely mixed into a new race.
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. Francisco Franco wrote a novel under the pen name "Jaime de Andrade" which was turned into the film Raza of 1944. The film celebrates ideally Spanish national qualities, exemplifies this usage. In Latin America, la raza emphasizes an Amerindian or mestizo heritage, or it may express Latino (Hispanic) identity (La Raza being short for La Raza Hispánica). Día de la Raza marks the arrival of Christopher Columbus to America.
The term became popular in the United States during the 1970s as part of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. Various Hispanic groups in the United States use the term.
- Race and ethnicity in Latin America
- Raza Unida Party
- National Council of La Raza
- Bidal Aguero
- The Clash of Civilizations
- Romero, Dennis (7 June 2016). "Dear Trump Fans: La Raza Is Not a Racist Term". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved 7 June 2016.