You Say Potato, I Say Papa!

The National Council of La Raza, (NCLR) surprised everyone on July 10 when they unveiled their new name. This was like a mega gender reveal party – it’s that thing pregnant gringos do to announce whether their baby is gonna be a boy or a girl. It’s like a babyshower, but way more boring.

But I digress, NCLR announced that they are now UnidosUS. A name they chose because they wanted to be more inclusive of non-Mexicans and relevant to millennials.

They also cited that Latinos are more likely to marry outside our race, so they are taking into consideration the feelings of our non-gente medias naranjas.

I wonder if they conducted a poll that showed that the number one source of conflict between mixed-race couples is how offensive the NCLR acronym is to the non-Latino partner?

So, they decided to change the name entirely! By changing it to one that is in Español and hard to pronounce.

If anything, this new name sounds more White. It reads like the names that American corporations give to their businesses in Latino-America.

If UnidosUS was any more corporate sounding, it would be SpectrumLatino or AT&TEspanol.

NCLR should’ve hired a better marketing and communications firm because their new name is the equivalent of designing a flyer on Microsoft Word.

When I first read the story, I seriously thought it was a joke. I had to check the source to make sure I wasn’t reading La Cucaracha.

The thing is that the timing of this announcement and the explanation for it, don’t really make sense. So it elevated some serious questions about the real reasons behind the move. Such as:

* Is their membership and revenue down?

* Do they feel that millennials are throwing their love to more “White” or non-ethnic organizations?

* Are they mad that ACLU is cashing in on the Muslim Ban?

* Did they not catch enough of all that post-election immigrant support money?

I don’t know their organization enough to understand this move and few people know about their on-going work.

The last great thing NCLR did was label President Barack Obama the “Deporter-In-Chief”. But, that was then. Now we are living in the political Apocalypse.

My advice to UnidosUS is, if you want to appeal to millennials, hire some. Let them make strategic decisions for your organization.

Stop selling millennials bullshit gimmicks of you giving two fucks about their opinions – when all you care about is their donations.

The reason why this is all too important is that, when I first heard of NCLR, back in the 80’s, it made me feel uncomfortable because it was so blatantly about Chicanos.

In retrospect, that’s what made them so great- it was unapologetic. NCLR wasn’t afraid to use language, in its name, that challenged White supremacy in the American status quo — it affirmed our existence as a people, as worthy, as human.

As a Central American, I’ve struggled to identify myself in all things Chicano, but I understand this nation’s history with Mexicans and the never-ending fight for identity as Latinos in America.

More importantly, I understood that, back then, NCLR’s fights were about defending Brown people as a whole!

This feels like NCLR- one of our 4 national political powerhouses- is cowering to somebody’s White husband who is offended cause the words La Raza are too militant.

Instead of standing tall, NCLR has chosen to surrender its name for something more palatable for the mainstream. When in reality the masses are clamoring for a movement that is powerful and un-cowardly.

NCLR used to be like MALDEF or NALEO- about the betterment and empowerment of the Latino community and that’s it–it’s all right there in the name–they let it hang out there for all to see.

I get that that can be a hard sell, but like Black Lives Matter- it focuses the conversation on the real issues that make White America uncomfortable.

UnidosUS, Hood Digest, along with the rest of la raza who grew up with you as their political voice of justice, will eagerly await to see if this name change was worth the price you paid for it.



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