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In a recent posting to National Review Online, long-time columnist John Derbyshire (right) attacked the nation’s largest Latino civil rights organization, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), for the last two words in its name, which Derbyshire translated as “The Race.” With that, Derbyshire joined thousands of other Americans who use the organization’s name to claim — entirely without foundation — that NCLR is a race-based, supremacist organization.
Said Derbyshire: “The idea, as I had it explained to me, is that by blending the European race with the Mesoamerican, Mexico has brought forth a new race, the mestizo or bronze race, which is claimed to be superior to both the contributing races, I suppose by dint of hybrid vigor. This bronze über-race is ‘La Raza.’”
Next time, Derbyshire — who has described himself as a “racist,” albeit a “mild and tolerant” one — might want to consult a dictionary, or perhaps a linguist, before he goes public with his proposed translations of the Spanish language. If he had, he’d have learned that “La Raza,” in the context of the organization’s name, doesn’t mean “The Race” at all. In fact, the term is much more commonly translated as “the people” or “the community” and it is intended to be inclusive, encompassing the blending of European, African, and indigenous peoples in the Americas.
Derbyshire might even have paid a visit to NCLR’s website, which includes a nuanced explanation of the term: “While it is true that one meaning ‘raza’ in Spanish is indeed ‘race,’ in Spanish, as in English and any other language, words can and do have multiple meanings. Translating our name as ‘the race’ is not only inaccurate, it is factually incorrect. ‘Hispanic’ is an ethnicity, not a race. As anyone who has ever met a Dominican American, Mexican American, or Spanish American can attest, Hispanics can be and are members of any and all races.”
The NCLR site continues: “The term ‘La Raza’ has its origins in early 20th century Latin American literature and translates into English most closely as ‘the people,’ or, according to some scholars, ‘the Hispanic people of the New World.’ The term was coined by Mexican scholar José Vasconcelos to reflect the fact that the people of Latin America are a mixture of many of the world’s races, cultures, and religions. Mistranslating ‘La Raza’ to mean ‘the race’ implies that it is a term meant to exclude others. In fact, the full term coined by Vasconcelos, ‘La Raza Cósmica,’ meaning the ‘cosmic people,’ was developed to reflect not purity but the mixture inherent in the Hispanic people. This is an inclusive concept, meaning that Hispanics share with all other peoples of the world a common heritage and destiny.” ( continue to full post… )
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One of the damning pieces of evidence examined in the Report is a letter denying the Armenian genocide that was signed in 1985 by 69 American scholars and published in full-page advertisements in major newspapers paid for by the Turkish government. All 69 of the signers, including Donald Quataert, then an associate professor of history at the University of Houston, had received funding that year from the government of Turkey, mostly from the Institute of Turkish Studies (ITS), a nonprofit organization housed at Georgetown University that was founded in 1982 with a $3 million grant from Turkey to promote a pro-Turkey agenda, including denial of the Armenian genocide.
Quataert later served as chairman of the ITS board of governors from 2001 until Dec. 13, 2006. Although the circumstances of his leaving that post were unclear at the time, last week it was revealed that he was forced to resign by Turkish Ambassador Nabi Sensoy after he refused to retract a scholarly book review in which Quataert said “what happened to the Armenians readily satisfies the U.N. definition of genocide.”
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Media personalities like Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh blur the lines between legal and illegal immigrants and promote resentment of all Latinos with tactics that range from sophomoric to sinister.
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A federal judge ruled that a Dallas suburb’s prohibition against renting apartments to illegal immigrants was unconstitutional and cannot be enforced.
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U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) assailed Georgia laws targeting illegal immigrants, calling them “an insult to human dignity.”
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Under the cover of traffic stops for minor offenses like improper use of a horn, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department conducted a farcical immigration sweep in Guadalupe, Ariz., whose brown-skinned residents are mostly Yaqui Indians.
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The latest issue of our investigative Intelligence Report magazine is out today, and it is led by a provocative cover story that exposes a network of U.S. scholars, paid by the government of Turkey, many of whom work to cover up the Turkish genocide of as many as 1.5 million Armenians during World War I — an effort that has found success in Congress and the White House.
Despite abundant documentation and eyewitness accounts of the slaughter of Armenians by Turkey’s Ottoman government between 1915 and 1918, the current Turkish government has paid lobbyists and funded the network of American academics, including several who dismiss or rationalize the killing. A consensus of genocide scholars agree that the slaughter was, indeed, a genocide.
“What we are seeing is a despicable rewriting of history aimed at absolving the perpetrators of mass murder and demonizing their victims,” said Mark Potok, editor of the Report, a quarterly journal published by the Southern Poverty Law Center that monitors the radical right (see Potok’s editorial on the genocide, “Lying About History,” here). “It is no different than the Holocaust denial of Nazi sympathizers who claim there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz and Treblinka.”
The story, “State of Denial,” recounts a March 2007 event where Guenter Lewy, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts, told a Harvard University audience that the Turkish government at the time may have been guilty of ineptness and “bungling misrule” — but not genocide. Lewy, one of the most active members of the network of academics, has made similar revisionist claims in speeches at other campuses and in his 2005 book, The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide.
As early as 1985, Turkey bought full-page newspaper advertisements to publish a letter questioning the genocide that was signed by 69 American scholars. All 69 had received funding that year from the Turkish government or its proxies.
As the only Muslim-dominated country in a troubled region to call the United States and Israel its allies, Turkey also has wielded significant political influence in Washington. Last fall, lobbyists on the Turkish payroll stymied a congressional resolution commemorating the genocide by persuading more than 100 lawmakers to reverse their positions. Even President Bush flip-flopped on a 2000 campaign promise to back official U.S. recognition of the genocide.
“Denial is the final stage of genocide,” Gregory Stanton, president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, told the Report. “It is a continuing attempt to destroy the victim group psychologically and culturally, to deny its members even the memory of the murders of their relatives. That is what the Turkish government today is doing to Armenians around the world.”
Also, in the Summer 2008 issue of the Intelligence Report:
• “Secret Identity?” probes the ideology of Shepherd’s Chapel, an Arkansas-based television ministry led by Arnold Murray that has an audience in the millions. Despite a theology that identifies an evil race he calls the “Kenites” as the killers of Christ, Murray says his ministry is not anti-Semitic. Mounting evidence suggests otherwise. Along with the story, we’ve posted an audio file of Potok interviewing writer Casey Sanchez about Murray and his theology.
• “Stalked by Skins” tells the story of twin brothers who have lived in fear since a bloody 2003 encounter with a gang of racist skinheads in Illinois that left one man dead. In an interview, Bill and Roger Larson recount how they and their families have been tormented by gang members ever since.
• “North Meets South” reports on the strange alliance forged by a Vermont separatist group in recent years. Born of the left, the Second Vermont Republic has now partnered with the white supremacist League of the South, which seeks a second Southern secession, to build a national movement. Here, too, we’ve posted an audio file of Potok and writer Heidi Beirich discussing the secession movement.
• “Of Race and Rockets” reveals famed aerospace scientist Walter Kistler’s $200,000 in donations to the Pioneer Fund, a racist foundation that funds controversial studies of race and intelligence. A defiant Kistler says he is “not concerned about battles in society about what is and what is not ‘racist.’”