LA RAZA (OUR PEOPLE)
What the Words "La Raza," Really Mean
Some Raza was already here in their
Published on LatinoLA: August 10, 2016
Native land. While others came to
the United States from Mexico,
after the Mexican revolution.
Entire families came. Grandfathers,
grandmothers, fathers and mothers.
Some came escaping the violence of
the revolution and repression, others
to escape poverty. Their eyes all firmly
set upon the colossus of the north.
Many Mexican-Americans joined the
U.S. Military and became heroes,
whenever the voice of war and conflict
raged around the world.
The majority came to find work wherever
they could. Some migrated to the large cities,
others to small towns, and some to farms
Men and women with hearts of gold and
nerves of steel. These were times when a
person's word was their bond. When most
work was done manually, without the help
of modern power tools.
They worked long days, with muscles
aching and backs hurting, yet their hearts
were always full of love and their strong
arms full of acceptance respect and hope.
Honor, was the main pillar which held the
family together back then, as foolishness
by "La Raza," was hardly tolerated. So much
so, that in case a man did not work and support
his family he would be considered an outcast
among other men.
In the summertime the cotton fields beckoned
to La Raza, into doing work for which no
employment application was needed or required.
Only a strong back and the ability to withstand
the merciless heat of the hot sun, and the
sharp points of the cotton bolls upon ones hands.
"Our people," also went up north to follow the
crops and pick vegetables, while others picked
fruit in different states. The smell of freshly made
flour tortillas would waft out of the houses that
the farmers and ranchers provided for "La Raza."
Eventually, some of the work done by field
workers was replaced by machines, such as
in the cotton fields. Factories, warehouse and
service industry jobs, replaced what was before.
Many Mexican-Americans also did well in the
military, while others worked in civil service,
as many still do.
Generations of Mexican-Americans, now
carry the standard, of those great people who
came before them, and whose seed was sown
throughout the southwest.
Some went to colleges and universities to
study for professional occupations. The
intelligentsia of "La Raza," now has many
doctors, engineers, architects, politicians,
attorneys, law enforcement, and other great men
and women in other careers who contribute to the
well-being of this great nation.
However, throughout all of this, not much has
really changed. Our brown skin has stayed
brown, and kids still ask their moms for tortillas
with mantequilla. Café con leche is still a
welcome sight in the morning. Taquitos still call
out from the breakfast table, and so does the pan
Smart phones aside, the words "La Raza," will
always mean the same as they have always meant,
"Our People," the special words which embody our
Written in Honor of Hispanic Heritage Month
Frank S. Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved
Frank is a Chicano poet and writer who is working to inspire Hispanic youth to reach for the stars and achieve a college education.