Aztlán, Reconquista, and Anti-Immigration Racism

Aztlan Map Lou Dobbs CNN LiberalOasis reports that CNN’s Lou Dobbs ran the graphic at right, which was “sourced to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a group deemed to have a ‘white supremacy’ ideology according to the Anti-Defamation League.” Further, “During a piece about illegal immigrants in Utah, reporter Casey Wian said, ‘Utah is also part of the territory some militant Latino activists refer to as Aztlan, the portion of the southwest United States they claim rightfully belongs to Mexico.'”

Digby has more on the CCC and posits, “The fact that they are touting the ridiculous Aztlan ‘threat’ puts the lie to any claims that this immigration debate isn’t being fueled by racism.”

The fact that a neo-Confederate group is touting a policy, however, is hardly evidence that others on their side are racists. Further, while the Reconquista and Aztlán memes are wildly overhyped by those advocating a crackdown on illegal immigration, that does not mean the underlying movements do not exist.

Wikipedia notes that,

Due to the association of Aztlan with Mexican national identity and an indeterminate northern location, the name Aztlán was taken up by Chicano activists of the 1960s and 1970s to refer to the area of the Southwestern United States ceded to the United States after the Mexican-American War. This is reflected in the title of the 1968 manifesto issued by the Chicano youth movement, the Plan Espiritual de Aztlán, as well as the names of several organizations, such as MEChA.

Indeed, the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center has published Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies since 1970.

I agree with Digby that Dobbs should have used a more legitimate source than the CCC for his chart, if he was going to use it at all. My guess, though, is that Dobbs doesn’t do his own research and some intern found it on the Web. Given the ability of most college students to differentiate the quality of various sources on the Internet, it would hardly surprise me that they didn’t do some pick and shovel work to figure out whose map they were using.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Christopher says:

    Dobbs is an idiot!

  2. LaurenceB says:

    Doesn’t it make sense that if Lou Dobbs wants to do a report on the reconquista, and that if he further wants to show a map depicting the area of the U.S. that the reconquistadores are intent on reclaiming, that he should simply ask the reconquistadores for such a map? That should be easy, right?

    Hmmm… If we googled all day long would we be able to find such an organization that publishes such a map? It seems Lou Dobbs (or his intern) wasn’t able to find one. Has anyone ever seen one?

    Or is the reconquista movement so secretive that only Michelle Malkin and the CCC have access to their maps? (snicker)

  3. The reconquista meme is a bit overstretched. If we ever face a real threat of that sort, it will have to come about via rebellion since states can’t secede, in which case we can imprison the perpetrators. Nevertheless, we should be aware of it and look for acts of violence from the members of the groups.

    I saw one of the MEChA guys on FNC a few years ago and he was non-specific as to what they wanted. The host asked if Arizona would suffice, the guy said no. They went on like that for a while and covered several states. If they know exactly what they want, it’s possible that they don’t want to reveal it. That could explain any dearth of maps from them.

  4. LaurenceB says:

    The reconquista meme is a bit overstretched.

    The Atlantic Ocean is a bit deep. 🙂

  5. legion says:

    Lemme get this straight… these unwashed masses, these uneducated, illiterate, non-english-speaking, non-job-skill-having immigrants are also organizing an enormous, highly- coordinated, multi-national assault on very specific targets scattered across the entire western US… Right.

    Wow. I knew bigots were inherently stupid, but this really takes the cake…

  6. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Go to Read El Plan de Aztlan. Then come back and tell me this his hype. Those idiots think that have a right to this land. Further they think they consitute a race. Indian and Spanish mix is not a race. Historically the land they claim was Apache, Commanche, and Navaho. Not Mexican.

  7. legion,

    The groups are real enough and they are not the uneducated. The MEChA movement is based on university campuses and James pointed to the Aztlan scholarly journal.

    As for the masses, they could be organized, regardless of their education. The above items could be laying the groundwork for some attempt at rebellion. Admittedly this is unlikely, but, as I said, the groups are real enough.

    You overuse the word “bigotry”, so much as to render its meaning useless.

  8. LaurenceB says:

    I suspect the (extremely small) proportion of Mecha-sympathizers among immigrants is roughly equivalent to the (extremely small) proportion of CCC-sympathizers among those who oppose immigration. In a kind of cosmic symmetry, each faction latches on to the (extremely small) worst representatives of their political opponent. It’s an unfortunate debating technique in that it discourages responsible discourse, yet it’s kind of fascinating to watch.

    In any case, Lou Dobbs was clearly wrong to use that map. ‘Nuff said.

  9. Dave Schuler says:

    It’s an article of faith in much of the Left Blogosphere that the Aztlan jazz has been ginned up or at least hyped by extreme right-wingers. IIRC Dave Neiwert is the author of that hypothesis.

  10. LaurenceB says:

    Itâ??s an article of faith in much of the Left Blogosphere that the Aztlan jazz has been ginned up or at least hyped by extreme right-wingers. IIRC Dave Neiwert is the author of that hypothesis.

    I heartily subscribe to that particular “article of faith”, yet I’ve never heard of Dave Neiwert. I guess Mr. Neiwert has been extremely successful and I have been horribly gullible. 🙂

    Or maybe it’s not an “article of faith”, but rather a fact – a fact which Mr. Neiwert and I both noticed because it’s obvious to even the casual observer.

  11. LJD says:

    unwashed masses, these uneducated, illiterate, non-english-speaking, non-job-skill-having immigrants

    Bigots in glass houses?