Meet Raza Club, a new group of teens who want to change Oakland

Raza Club dinner
Photo by Jane Tyska/Staff

Remember the blog post about the Oakland teenagers who serve coffee every Monday morning to day laborers? A full story about the group, Raza Club, ran on Friday, along with an audio slideshow. I hope to keep you updated on the club as it evolves.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Chauncey

    When will we have clubs like Black Man math Club, or the WhitePride Club? Dont sound right does it?

    I wish more minorty teachers focused on academic focused clubs. Tha same teacher worked for a school that was closed due to academics. He has not learned that acadmeics matters. Culture through Film class, man why is he even paid?

    What is Fremeonts API and droput rate? Arent there fights at Fremont along racial lines? Maybe cause isolationist clubs like this that segregate instead of uniting.

  • Nextset

    The racial clubs exist to give an escape for minorities who don’t want to compete as an equal with the white or mainstream kids. It also serves as a forum for the ethnic centered mores and values that divert from normal society – tribal dress, dialect, mating rituals and the rest.

    Membership in these clubs serve nicely to alert future employers and would be associates to steer clear of these personalities. Resumes loaded with references to these clubs go right in the garbage – unless they are applying for an affirmative action job.

    I don’t even bother warning students about this anymore, why bother… They are just sorting themselves.

    The kind of clubs that are useful are career, service club and technical/academic clubs. Not race clubs. Nobody wants to hire a professional minority that is full of the tribal entitlement and victimhood garbage.

  • OaklandAlumnus

    I applaud these students for being able to look forward and attempt to implement change in crime and poverty-ridden communities. And to clarify, racial clubs are far from discussing “mating rituals and tribal dress.” These comments are a demonstration of blatant ignorance, lack of substance, and utter hostility.

    Racials clubs are meant to help students come together and share their experiences, challenges, hopes, and academics.

    You will never know what these students feel, unless you open your minds and eyes. Try living in the present, it is now 2010, not 1955.

  • Teacher


    You put down this club for serving breakfast to day laborers on non-school time and then turned around and said that clubs that are useful are service clubs.

    If these kids are literally giving shirts off their backs to those less fortunate, how is this “victimhood?”

  • teacher2

    As a teacher at Fremont High School, I know that violence there does not occur across racial lines. In fact, one of the reasons students flock to La Raza is because gang violence has been occurring in Oakland within the Latino community, and this is one place where people can unite in a positive way.

    As to the accusation that La Raza “segregates”, several African American students are also part of the club, one fact that the article did not mention.

    Finally, film is a text from which intellectual discussion can flower. Elite universities offer courses and majors in Film Studies. In the case of this after school program, the films focus on Raza history. As a history teacher myself, I know that standard “World” or “US” history does not provide much coverage of Latino history. IF anything, this course provides more, not less education to our students who are hungry to learn more about their own identities.

    Get your facts in order before you level baseless criticisms at students who are taking action for change within their neglected community.

  • Nextset


    I certainly don’t expect you to get it when it comes to racial clubs and tribalism.

    High School Diploma is the terminal degree for the bulk of the minority students. They only have so many years to get a foundation to navigate in the Brave New World. Many of them are not college material. Many of them that will eke out college credits or even a degree are not going into a profession. Those that are going into a profession have a whole new set of issues.

    Unless they intend to be affirmative action hires all their lives – and believe me that is going out the window – they must be able to function well in either white society or in competitive society dominated by the ethnic group in power in a particular field.

    Tribalism especially for black and brown students is no route to full employment and occupational success in Business and Commerce. It is a ticket to being marginalized.

    I could go on about what I saw in Law School – and what I heard happened to the tribal types in other professional schools. It would take longer than I have at the moment. It wasn’t pretty. Ditto after school in professional life. I have known and talked with many many people who were so marginalized they were run out of (or just failed) jobs, careers, even out of town.

    They believed, and they got this stupid notion in high school, that if they were good blacks they would be taken care of and would be OK. To them, being “good” largely consisted of spending a lot of time and energy joining and working on tribal issues with any number of ethnocentric groups. By the time they finished they only had ethnic contacts and had no social skills or awareness of anything else. They were too busy with tribal matters to get established in a broader trade guild, and if they did go to their professional groups it was to champion tribal issues above all else. Which made them as welcome as (I’m not going to say it here).

    The old school blacks I grew up watching had their race clubs but they kept that so sub rosa their white co-workers and classmates had little awareness of them. They joined all the trade, union and professional associations and became active (just as soon as blacks were let in) and in time managed to become part of the management of these groups. The drew on every bit of information, influence and networking to promote themselves and their friends within the mainstream. As a rule they never had enough black votes to take anything, they learned to horse trade with everybody else to get what they wanted. We saw some of this in Democratic Coalition politics in the 1950s and 1960s, also Union and professional association politics.

    This is what the tribal ra-ras are avoiding. That process is starting in high school.

    My observation is different from the teachers in that you see a bunch of kids playing grown-up and I see working adults and professionals broken and run out of work/profession/town.

    These kids would be better off in mainstream groups including the service clubs & professional/occupational clubs and not going into in-your-face race clubs. Business and commerce de-selects candidates who have histories in such race clubs.

    Just so we understand each other.

    Brave New World.

  • Nextset

    Oh, and before you get mad at me, realize that I consider you just another pat on the back that holds these kids back.

    It’s adults that encourage and perpetuate tribal behavior who produce students that don’t make it.