La Raza depends for its survival not on grassroots, but on government contracts and kickbacks, and grants from foundations and the corporations it can shake down. Meanwhile, studies show that minorities want to join the mainstream. A leaked memo from ten years ago shows how La Raza opposes this since it is bad for business. One does not need to be a populist to think there is a problem in asking taxpayers to fund efforts that fuel insider networks—at the expense of said taxpayers.
Ever heard of La Raza? Probably not, but you and other taxpayers are funding it.
We shouldn’t be. Along with public broadcasters, environmental organizations, and other entities that use taxpayer money to keep insider networks in power, ethnic identity groups should be taken off public support. These movements have for decades lived off the government only to keep enlarging it, maintaining power in the hands of a self-dealing bureaucratic elite increasingly unaccountable and disconnected from outside society.
La Raza—recently renamed UnidosUS—is a case in point. Set up in 1968 with a grant from the Ford Foundation (which also helped create other movements), La Raza has always been more boardroom than barrio. It depends for its survival not on grassroots, but on government contracts and kickbacks, and grants from foundations and the corporations it can shake down.
This corporate and government coziness doesn’t mean that La Raza hasn’t been a divisive force in society. On the contrary, it’s been so from the beginning, and the balkanization it has caused has benefited elites.