Language is a powerful tool for influencing how we perceive other nations and communities. The use of the terms “Latinx” verses “Latin” is one of the ongoing arguments in the Latino community. The word “Latinx,” according to some, is more inclusive and progressive, while others claim it misrepresents the history and identity of the Latino community. This blog post will discuss how the controversy surrounding Latino identity is impacted by the distinctions between “Latinx” and “Latin,” according to the public and the GALLUP poll.
What is Latinx?
People with Latin American heritage are referred to by the gender-neutral term “Latinx.” In order to include more individuals who do not identify as either male or female, non-binary, or gender non-conforming, the phrase was developed. According to a 2021 Pew Research Center poll, only 3% of American Hispanics identify as “Latinos.” The word is only known to about one-third of Hispanic Americans.
What is Latin?
People of Latin American ancestry have been referred to as “Latinos” for many years. The phrase has been employed in scholarly, political, and cultural settings. But the phrase has come under fire for being biased and for not including non-binary and gender non-conforming people.
The Debate: Latinx vs. Latin
The term “Latinx” has generated discussion among Latinos. Some Latinos feel that the term “Latinx” distorts the past and identity of the Latino community, while others feel that it is more inclusive and progressive. The National Association of Hispanic Journalists surveyed Latino journalists in 2021, and found that 36% of them said they use the word “Latinx,” compared to 33% who said they don’t and 31% who said they use it sparingly.
The Importance of Language
Language is an essential part of shaping our understanding of different cultures and communities. The use of “Latinx” and “Latin” can have a significant impact on the Latino identity. The use of gender-neutral language in “Latinx” can help create a more inclusive environment for non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals within the Latino community. However, the term “Latinx” has also been criticized for being too western-centric and erasing the history and identity of the Latino community.
The ongoing debate over the distinctions between the words “Latinx” and “Latin” demonstrates the complexity of language and identity within the Latino community. Even though the term “Latinx” may be more inclusive and progressive, it is still essential to acknowledge the history and identity of the Latino community. Because language is a powerful tool that can affect how we view different groups, it must be used cautiously and intentionally.
RAE – Real Academia de la Lengua (Real Academy of the Spanish Language)
The RAE Has Made Its Decision About Latinx and Latine in Its First Style Manual, they reject the use of “x” and “e” as gender-neutral alternatives. According to El Clarín, RAE rejected the use of “x” and “e” as gender-neutral substitutes in the first part of its first style manual for the Spanish language, which it co-edited with Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española (ASALE). The school advised using the masculine as a default because it can include the feminine. (However, those who do not identify as either male or feminine are not helped by this.) However, if a group of 100 women adds one male, they are no longer referred to as “ellas” but rather as “ellos” Another justification for the emergence of words like “elles” and “ellx” is this.
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Pew Research Center (2021). “About One-Third of U.S. Hispanics Have Heard of Latinx, but Just 3% Use It”.
National Association of Hispanic Journalists (2021). “NAHJ Survey Finds Use of Term Latinx in Newsrooms is Divisive”.
Frank Newport, Ph.D., is a Gallup Senior Scientist. He is the author of Polling Matters: Why Leaders Must Listen to the Wisdom of the People and God Is Alive and Well.