Sunday, January 20, 2008

Liberal Fascism: A correction, please

-- by Dave

There's a series of gross factual errors on page 6 of Liberal Fascism that I've been wanting to point out:
Certain quarters of the left assert that "Zionism equals racism" and that the Israelis are equivalent to Nazis. As invidious and problematic as those characterizations are, why aren't we hearing similar denunciations of groups ranging from the National Council of La Raza -- that is, "The Race" -- to the radical Hispanic group MEChA, whose motto -- "Por La Raza todo, Fuerna de La Raza nada" -- means everything for the race, nothing outside the race?" Why is it that when a white man spouts such nonsense it's "objectively" fascist, but when a person of color says the same thing it's merely an expression of fashionable multiculturalism?

This is factually false on several counts.

-- First, the slogan "Por La Raza todo, Fuerna de La Raza nada" is not the MEChA "motto." (It was simply a slogan crafted by late '60s Chicano radicals who used it in a handful of early MEChA documents.) MEChA's actual motto is La union hace la fuerza, or "Unity creates power."

-- Second, Goldberg (whose language skills, as Jeet Heer has observed, are something of a problem for his text anyway) mistranslates the slogan -- though, as we noted when exploring the MEChA meme, he is hardly the first to do so. In addition to Michelle Malkin's use of this mistranslation, it has subsequently appeared in a multitude of conservative attacks on MEChA, both in the mainstream media (see, for example, Bustamante's Fox interview, cited by Mickey Kaus, at which he was obviously baffled by the distorted translation) and throughout the blogosphere.

The slogan is intended as a declaration of fealty to one's community and their cultural heritage. Its syntax is clearly inward, not outward, in orientation. A more accurate translation would read, "In service of my people, everything; [for] apart from my people, [I have] nothing."

-- Third, "La Raza," as the Wikipedia entry accurately explains, is correctly translated not as "the race" but "the people," since it refers generically to "the people of Latin America" (or more narrowly, "of Mexico"). It's generically a multiracial term, not a racist one.

I look forward to seeing this record corrected in the Errata I'm sure Goldberg will be publishing. Er, maybe not.

No comments: