NCLR met with backlash over name change to UnidosUS

Janet Murguia
Janet Murguia

WASHINGTON – At the stroke of midnight on Jan. 11, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), which means “the race,” officially changed its name to UnidosUS.

In her announcement about the organization’s name change, President and CEO Janet Murguia stated, “So, while our name is changing, our mission is not. We are embracing that mission to create opportunities and to open the doors to the American dream for everyone.”

Murguia said the name change was three years in the making.

On July 7, Elvia Diaz of the Arizona Republic called La Raza “a good organization with a bad name” and called for rebranding.

Diaz asked her readers for suggestions and stated, “The objective is to help NCLR rebrand itself and by so doing take the oxygen out of haters, but most importantly to inspire a new generation of Latinos, Hispanos and Chicanos.”

Well despite what Murguia says, NCLR has never advocated creating opportunities for “everyone.”

In fact, if you go to the “About Us” page of their website: it states, “Since 1968 we have worked to build a stronger America by creating opportunities for Latinos.”

A publication on their website titled “A History of Impact” discusses how its origins emerged from the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century, particularly the early years of school and housing desegregation.

However, it laments, even though Latinos participated in those movements, they did not receive widespread media coverage or national visibility and the civil rights legislation of that era had little effect on the Latino community.

Back in the 1950s the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), an older established Latino assistance organization, recognized English as the official language of the United States, emphasized the importance of citizenship, and supported immigration control and mass deportation of illegal aliens. They even began their meetings reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

LULAC has since evolved into a Latino supremacy organization, supports illegal immigration, and, like NCLR, supports the theory Hispanics are victimized by white people.

It was during the 1930 census, “Mexicans” were counted separately for the first time.

Because Texas was segregated, Mexicans felt they were losing their status by being counted as non-white and feared they might face the same conditions as blacks.

A few years later, LULAC successfully lobbied to have Mexicans recognized as “white” again and treated as such for segregation purposes.

Fast forward 40 years, after affirmative action programs became available for blacks, LULAC and NCLR lobbied successfully for Mexicans to be recognized as “non-whites” so they would be recognized for racial preference purposes.

They ebbed and flowed with identity, insisting they were white when there were advantages to being white. When benefits associated with being non-white surfaced, it was time to change color again.

NCLR’s announcement of its name change to UnidosUS was met primarily with negative comments and ridicule on NPR’s Latino USA Facebook page.

Ruben Romero Burrola wrote, “I’m in Arizona, I didn’t even know the organization was still relevant. I guess ‘La Raza’ is too harsh for their white corporate donors anyway??”

Yolanda Estrada-Munoz, wrote, “I have always respected the NCLR because it had faced adversity head on. THIS IS A COP OUT.”

Blanca Yaneth wrote, “Boo. National Council of la Raza was such a powerful name. This is bull to appease white donors.”

Edgar Alonzo said, “This new name is a weak ass move. I’m just glad it didn’t say LatinX. No bash against LGBTQ community but I’m really tired of the PC crowd making progressive people look lame.”

Vanessa Cofresi stated, “I suppose this is a great way to water down the history for gringolandia.”

Jose Camacho commented, “No me gusta (I don’t like it) it’s simply a tactic to engage with more white/pc ‘allies’ who would prefer not to be associated with the strong connotation of La Raza! Weak, weak, weak!”

Félix Montañez said, “How about instead change the name to National Organization for Mexican American Mainstream Engagement with Society – or NO MAMES for short.”

Mike Varela suggested they rename it instead to “National Council of Spanish Speakers (NaCoS)” or “Tran-American Council of Superchingones (TACoS)” and said, “[That] would have been very chido! (cool)”

Roberto Sepulveda wrote, “Don’t agree with this new name. It doesn’t appeal to my [heart] or my pocketbook.”

Sergio Bonel simply stated, “Cowards.”

Oscar Lozano wrote, “Not feeling it.”

Thomas E Delphi called the change “lame” while Luis Angel Viniegra stated, “Good luck … goodbye … RIP NCLR.”

Alex Villagran wrote, “Good for them!” However, he was amongst just a very small minority of people who had anything positive to say, and that’s if you call “Meh” positive.

An NBC News opinion piece by Raul A. Reyes was headlined, “National Council of La Raza’s Rebranding as UnidosUS is Smart, Inclusive Move.”

Time will tell how the rebranding will affect them.