Despite the woke left’s best efforts, the so-called “inclusive” term “Latinx” – believed to have started around 2004 – has failed to take root within the Hispanic/Latino community. Polls have consistently shown that only tiny minorities prefer the term “Latinx,” with others showing overwhelming majorities using “Hispanic” or “Latino/Latina” over “Latinx” to describe their ethnic background.
Because the term not only does not resonate with most in the Hispanic/Latino community but also offends some of the older generations, even some Democrats in Congress, including Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), have made moves to stop using it altogether in formal communications. Some of their affiliated special interest groups have responded accordingly by doing the same.
Naturally, the backlash against the use of “Latinx” has caused some progressive websites to conveniently change their tunes as well, like Salon, which five years ago told us that “Latinx” was the way to go:
Forget About “Latino” — why I’m all for “Latinx,” and you should be, too https://t.co/x74PTMtRGy
— Salon (@Salon) October 7, 2017
… but which has now moved on to another term they think would be a suitable substitute:
Stop using "Latinx" if you really want to be inclusive https://t.co/hY8TnSxvEi
— Salon (@Salon) September 26, 2022
“Latine,” which has previously been floated in higher ed as an alternative, is the way forward, according to writer and Saint Louis University Assistant Professor Melissa Ochoa, who first argued why she agreed that the use of “Latinx” was offensive:
The distinct demographic differences of those who are aware of or use Latinx calls into question whether the term is inclusive or just elitist.
Individuals who self-identiy as Latinx or are aware of the term are most likely to be U.S.-born, young adults from 18 to 29 years old. They are predominately English-speakers and have some college education. In other words, the most marginalized communities do not use Latinx.
Scholars, in my view, should never impose social identities onto groups that do not self-identify that way.
If a term is truly inclusive, it gives equitable weight to vastly diverse experiences and knowledge; it is not meant to be a blanket identity.
Women of color, in general, are severely underrepresented in leadership positions and STEM fields. Using “Latinx” for women further obscures their contributions and identity. I have even seen some academics try to get around the nebulous nature of Latinx by writing “Latinx mothers” or “Latinx women” instead of “Latinas.”
But there is a much better gender-inclusive alternative, one that’s been largely overlooked by the U.S. academic community and is already being used in Spanish-speaking parts of Latin America, especially among young social activists in those countries.
It’s “Latine” — pronounced “lah-teen-eh” — and it’s far more adaptable to the Spanish language. It can be implemented as articles — “les” instead of “los” or “las,” the words for “the.” When it comes to pronouns, “elle” can become a singular form of “they” and used in place of the masculine “él” or feminine “ella,” which translate to “he” and “she.” It can also be readily applied to most nationalities, such as “Mexicane” or “Argentine.
Nevertheless, problems can still arise when the word “Latine” is imposed onto others. “Latina” and “Latino” may still be preferable for many individuals. I don’t think the “-e” should eliminate the existing “-o” and the “-a.” Instead, it could be a grammatically acceptable addition to the Spanish language.
I mean, if “young social activists” are leading the way with the use of the term (just like they did with “Latinx”), then it must be okay, right?
Defiant Ls, of course, made sure to immortalize Salon’s about-face:
— Defiant L’s (@DefiantLs) September 26, 2022
Daily Wire suggested leftists were doing their thing by moving the goalposts yet again:
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) September 26, 2022
Others pointed out that really what the author was arguing here was to essentially push another term on the Hispanic/Latino community after the other one failed to gain traction:
After years of trying to alter A LANGUAGE for allegedly being exclusionary the fact that it has roundly been rejected by the majority of Hispanics leads to — trying to still force them to alter a language. https://t.co/kJAHTLakZj
— Brad Slager: Distracted at the Auto Show (@MartiniShark) September 26, 2022
Let’s not forget, too, that Republicans were well ahead of Democrats when it came to an understanding of how this term would not fly with most people:
Republicans aren't necessarily smarter than Democrats.
They just arrive at the right answer on almost every topic years faster because they don't give a shit about the stupid dumb things your friends constantly make up that you keep trying to carry as a moral crusade. https://t.co/sjzUh0bn5p
— mitrebox (@mitrebox) September 26, 2022
All of that said, keep in mind that the real reasons for the move away from “Latinx” revolve primarily around political and electoral concerns, as the Miami Herald inadvertently explained in a December 2021 editorial where they argued woke Dems should abandon their “Latinx” campaign:
Every time a Democratic politician uses the term, a Republican operative celebrates. It’s just what the GOP needs to make the case that Democrats are too busy being “woke” to worry about the everyday-life concerns of Americans. Of course, Democrats have more to blame than just a word for the inroads Donald Trump made into those communities in South Florida last November. The Democratic Party is struggling to land the right message with voters and has been notoriously absent from the Hispanic community until the eve of elections.
I predict “Latine” will go over about as well with the Hispanic/Latino community as “Latinx” did. But far be it from any self-respecting conservative to step in the way of Democrats when they’re in the middle of self-destructing…
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.