Latinx

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Latinx (la-teen-ex) (/ləˈtnɛks, læ-/) is a gender-neutral term sometimes used in lieu of Latino or Latina (referencing Latin American cultural or racial identity). The plural is Latinxs. The -x replaces the standard -o and -a endings in Spanish, Portuguese and related languages, which form nouns of the masculine and feminine genders, respectively. The term is a politicized neologism that has gained traction among advocacy groups intersectionally combining the identity politics of race and gender. Other forms such as Latin@ and Latine are also used.

History[edit]

The term Latinx emerged from American Spanish in the early 21st century,[1] and was reportedly first used online in 2004.[2] The term has gained popularity in social media, and is mostly used by community activists and in higher education settings by students, faculty, staff, and some administrators who seek to advocate for individuals living on the borderlines of gender identity. [3] According to Google Trends, interest in the term spiked in 2016.[4] The term appears in print, also in 2016, in the context of LGBT studies.[5]

A 2016 NBC News report noted that it was "difficult to pinpoint" the origins of the term, but found "anecdotal evidence" that the term was in use in Latin America.[6] The same report stated that usage of the term was "without question on the rise at U.S. colleges". Oberlin College, New York University, Central Washington University, and Colorado State University are among the academic institutions that have advertised events using the word Latinx.

At Princeton University, a student group called the Princeton University Latinx Perspective Organization was founded in 2016 to "unify Princeton's diverse Latinx community".[7] As of 2017, several student-run organizations at other institutions have utilized the word in their title.[8]

Salinas and Lozano (2017) stated that the term is influenced by Mexican indigenous communities.[9] Scharrón-del Río and Aja (2015) have traced the use of Latinx in authors Beatriz Llenin Figueroa, Jaime Géliga Quiñones, Yuderkys Espinosa Miñoso and Adriana Gallegos Dextre.[10] The term has also been discussed in publications by Pastrana (2016), Battle (2016) and Valdes (2017).[11]

Sign at the Women's March on Washington. The sign reads, "women's, LGBTQIA, immigrant's, black, Latinx, Muslim, & disability rights are human rights."

Reception[edit]

The term Latinx has been the subject of controversy. In an article for the Los Angeles Times, Daniel Hernandez wrote "Like many of its awkward predecessors, 'Latinx' does not work. Its experimental 'x' opens too many linguistic floodgates. And why is this kind of label necessary at all?"[12]

An article on HuffPost stated, "Despite the growing popularity of the term, Latinx has been faced with criticism. Many opponents of the term have suggested that using an un-gendered noun like Latinx is disrespectful to the Spanish language and some have even called the term "a blatant form of linguistic imperialism." Some refuse to use the term as "Latinx doesn't roll off the tongue in the Spanish language."[13]

However, in defense of the term, Brooklyn College professors María R. Scharrón-del Río and Alan A. Aja argue that the Spanish language itself is a form of linguistic imperialism for Latin Americans.[13]

Hector Luis Alamo wrote in an article for Latino Rebels, "If we dump Latino for Latinx because it offends some people, then we should go on dumping words forever since there will always be some people who find some words offensive. No word ever oppressed anybody (except maybe the word God)."[14]

Nicole Trujillo-Pagán considers patriarchal bias is reproduced in ostensibly "gender neutral" language[15][16][17] and asserts, "Less clear in the debate (as it has developed since then) is how the replacement silences and erases long-standing struggles to recognize the significance of gender difference and sexual violence."[18]

Alternatives[edit]

An alternative term is Latin@ (pronounced Latínao) where the postfixed -@ is taken to represent a combination of -a and -o in a single character. This variant is somewhat older, in use since the 1990s.[19] It has received criticism for adhering to a binary view of gender.[20]

Another, more recent, variant is Latine, where the vowel -e is taken as a "neutral" alternative to either -a or -o. Proponents of Latine say it sounds more natural and grammatical to native Spanish speakers.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Home : Oxford English Dictionary". www.oed.com. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  2. ^ Gamio, Arlene. "Latinx: A Brief Guidebook".
  3. ^ Salinas, Cristobal; Lozano, Adele (2017). "Mapping and recontextualizing the evolution of the term Latinx: An environmental scanning in higher education". Journal of Latinos and Education: 1. doi:10.1080/15348431.2017.1390464. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Google Trends". Google Trends. Retrieved 2017-04-22.
  5. ^ Jr, Antonio (Jay) Pastrana; Battle, Juan; Harris, Angelique (2016-12-22). An Examination of Latinx LGBT Populations Across the United States: Intersections of Race and Sexuality. Springer. ISBN 9781137560742.
  6. ^ Reyes, Raul A. "Are you Latinx? As Usage Grows, Word Draws Approval, Criticism". Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  7. ^ "Home | Princeton University Latinx Perspectives Organization". Home | Princeton University Latinx Perspectives Organization. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
  8. ^ "Student Organizations | UNC Latina/o Studies Program". lsp.unc.edu. Retrieved 2017-04-23. "Iowa State University - Student Organizations". www.stuorg.iastate.edu. Retrieved 2017-04-23. "Latinx Student Organizations | Multicultural Resource Center". new.oberlin.edu. Oberlin College. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
  9. ^ Salinas, Cristobal; Lozano, Adele (2017). "Mapping and recontextualizing the evolution of the term Latinx: An environmental scanning in higher education". Journal of Latinos and Education: 1. doi:10.1080/15348431.2017.1390464. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  10. ^ Scharrón-del Río, María R.; Aja, Alan A. (2015-12-05). "The Case for 'Latinx': Why Intersectionality Is Not a Choice". Latino Rebels. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  11. ^ Valdés, Vanessa K. (2017-03-15). Diasporic Blackness: The Life and Times of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg. SUNY Press. ISBN 9781438465159. Jr, Antonio (Jay) Pastrana; Battle, Juan; Harris, Angelique (2016-12-22). An Examination of Latinx LGBT Populations Across the United States: Intersections of Race and Sexuality. Springer. ISBN 9781137560742. "Thinking About the 'X' – AAIHS". www.aaihs.org. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
  12. ^ Hernandez, Daniel (December 17, 2017). "The case against 'Latinx'". Los Angeles Times.
  13. ^ a b Ramirez, Tanisha Love; Blay, Zeba (2016-07-05). "Why People Are Using The Term 'Latinx'". HuffPost. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  14. ^ Luis Alamo, Hector (December 12, 2015). "The X-ing of Language: The Case Against 'Latinx'". Latino Rebels.
  15. ^ Gastil, John. 1990. "Generic pronouns and sexist language: The oxymoronic character of masculine generics." Sex roles 23 (11-12):629-643.
  16. ^ Sniezek, Janet A, and Christine H Jazwinski. 1986. "Gender bias in English: In search of fair language." Journal of applied social psychology 16 (7):642-662.
  17. ^ Prewitt-Freilino, Jennifer L, T Andrew Caswell, and Emmi K Laakso. 2012. "The gendering of language: A comparison of gender equality in countries with gendered, natural gender, and genderless languages." Sex Roles 66 (3-4):268-281.
  18. ^ Trujillo-Pagán, Nicole (2018-02-27). "No Shock or Awe About 'Acting' Latinx". Latino Rebels. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  19. ^ "What is Latinx and AfroLatinx?". #HeyMiGente. Medium. 2016-08-18. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
  20. ^ Scharrón-del Río, María R.; Aja, Alan A. (2015-12-05). "The Case for Latinx: Why Intersectionality Is Not a Choice". Latino Rebels. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  21. ^ "Google Trends". Google Trends. Retrieved 2017-04-23. Gamio, Arlene. "Latinx: A Brief Guidebook".