ASK A QUESTION What does Viva la Raza mean?
My 12-y-o son won a shirt at a mexican restaraunt. The top says "Vato Loco" then there's a skull with money signs in the eye sockets and on the bottom it has "Viva La Raza"
I'm not sure if the skull/money signs means anything. He likes the shirt (he likes skulls) and I just wanna make sure he's not walking around with anything profane or what-have-you.
The skulls have to do with "Día de la muerte" the day of the dead which is a Mexican tradition for remembering the dead. It is not a gang thing but a cultural thing.
The "Viva la raza" is certainly Mexican pride, but it is more. I would connect it with Aztlán the meso american empire that existed here before the conquistadors. It is America as in the Americas of Amerigo Vespucci, before the United States of America. It is technically incorrect to use the term America because that is the culture of the conquerors. Viva la raza is pride in the first peoples of the land and a call for its eventual reconquest.
Día de meurtos predates the Spanish Conquest and survives luckily because the Catholics All Souls Day and Halloween are about the same day.
Best of all on November 2nd people bring us mole and tequila. ¡Viva la raza!
Long live the race!
I found this post that might shed some light on the 'vato loco' part
Vatos Locos used to be an important gang in Los Angeles, California. They even had a movie done about them.
Vato means dude or pal or something like that. Loco means crazy.
vato loco: crazy or wild guy
Popular term among Mexican-American gang members; "vato" = "bato", an old Spanish term for a "rustic character".
Here's what I discovered as I googled this question. Googled' find said,
"Viva La Raza" literally means Long live the race. It is referring to Mexican-American pride in t... / This is the googled answer for the web http://www.chacha.com/question/
This other site may have something directly linked to the T-shirt. I went on the web and found that its some business that will put your photo into a skull setting that you can then frame, or perhaps put on a T-shirt. In googlingthe term Viva La Raza this particular web's note showed the money signs within the name. Its http://www.vatoslocosforever.com/
As Matt says "long live the race" In Mexico probably it could be loosely translated as "long live the Mexican people" I think that Columbus Day in Mexico is also known as "El dia de la Raza' and it is pride in heritage. I have no idea what 'vato loco' means. Someone?
"Vato loco" is definitely street slang. It's not particularly offensive but, to me, has the sense of "crazy homeboy". It doesn't necessarily imply gang affiliation, in my opinion, though, as Marie-Claire's link suggested, it was the name of the gang featured in the movie Blood In Blood Out (Sangre por sangre). However, the skull w/the dollar sign eyes, from the little bit of online research that I just did, is a fairly common gang symbol. Though a skull could certainly symbolize the Day of the Dead, w/the addition of the dollar signs, I would say that that is not the case.
Viva la raza is pride in the first peoples of the land and a call for its eventual reconquest.
I agree w/aprender100. In and of itself, "Viva la raza" is a commonly used phrase by many Mexicans and is not offensive or necessarily gang related, but, if I'm remembering correctly from the movie, it can also be used as a battle cry of sorts.
So, to answer your question, the shirt is not profane, but I certainly know some Mexican mothers who wouldn't let their kids wear it, given the gang symbology and "vato loco" gang connection. It could certainly be construed to mean more than Mexican pride and "crazy dude".