Should people use the term 'LatinX'?
- Merriam-Webster writes the term “Latinx” (pronounced \luh-TEE-neks\) was added to the dictionary in September 2018 as a word meant to replace the gendered Spanish Latina or Latino “for those of Latin American descent who do not identify as being of the male or female gender or who simply don't want to be identified by gender.”
- Google Trends shows in its Interest Over Time timeline that “Latinx” first appeared in searches in 2004, grew in traction a bit during 2014, then spiked and rose from 2016-2020, but is now on the wane again (as of August 2021). The Google Trends search engine goes as far back as 2001.
- World Population Review describes Latin America (with a combined population of more than 616 million) as 33 countries spread across all the Americas south of the US border. Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Peru are the most populous countries in Latin America.
- An August 2021 Gallup Poll found that respondents of Latin American descent preferred the terms “Hispanic” (57%) and “Latino” (37%) over “Latinx” (5%).
The word 'Latinx' includes people with and without gender identity and is thus more inclusive than 'Latino' or 'Latina' can be, and that's a good thing for the LGBTQ community and for the language itself. Languages, like human cultures, evolve. This organic process gives expression to new meanings or conditions while reflecting changes in word usage and pronunciation. Inevitably, change occurs even given stuffy complaints about the use and sound of the Spanish 'x,' in 'Latinx' as an inappropriate conjugation.
Spanish has shown it can mature towards a greater clarity of expression before. The language did so when speakers veered away from the invented blanket term, 'Hispanic,' and towards 'Latino/a.' Beginning with the 1970 Census, 'Hispanic' clunkily designated a category of people as 'non-white' immigrants from Central and South American countries formerly of the Spanish Empire. Gloria Anzaldua argues in her groundbreaking 1987 book Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza that these formerly conquered lands and peoples derive no benefit from being further associated with colonial Spain (Hispaniola), embodied in the etymology of 'Hispanic.' She argues for dissolving 'borders' between gender, racial and national identities among peoples with a shared language.
For the inclusion of broader categories of people, the growth of Spanish and other binary pronoun languages, and the recognition of divergent cultures speaking a common language, 'Latinx' should remain in play. Opposition to the freedom of people to refer to themselves as they wish represents linguistic and cultural stagnation. Happily, the examination of 'Latinx' reveals that Spanish is evolving beyond its colonial, racial, and gender binary history.
The Left continually invents sins to use against their political opponents while 'virtue-signaling' their righteousness. One way to accomplish this is through the construction and imposition of new language standards on society. Words such as 'cisgender' and 'womxn' are an example of how the Left uses wordplay to legitimize their ideologies. Leftists invented 'Latinx' to promote 'inclusivity.'
Spanish—like the other Romance languages—is a gendered language. Generally, any word that ends in “o” is masculine, and any word that ends in “a” is feminine. So, yes, “Latino” is the masculine form of the word, but its use is not a slight against females. Imagine reading this 'gender-neutral' Spanish sentence: 'Lxs niñxs fueron a lx escuelx a ver sus amigxs.' As authors in The Phoenix put it, the term excludes Spanish-born speakers and nearly 'all of Latin America, who simply cannot pronounce it in the US way;' likewise, it's 'an American way to erase the Spanish language.' Advocating for the 'erasure of gender in Spanish [means] advocating for the erasure of Spanish.' 'Latinx' is grammatically incorrect and incompatible with Spanish.
The US pushing this term onto the Hispanic community without their input is a form of linguistic imperialism (or otherwise put, 'reverse appropriation.') 'Latinx' is a poor attempt to pander to Hispanic voters, who aren't widely accepting the term. According to a December 2019 Pew Research survey, 'only 23% of US adults who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino have heard of the term Latinx, and just 3% say they use it to describe themselves.'
Americans must reject the Left's twisting of language. Once speech is controlled, so is thought. Benjamin Franklin said it best, 'Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.'
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