I don’t agree with the use of the term “Latinx" for a multitude of reasons. I’ve taken the time to analyze the arguments people have made to justify the use of the term, but I find it easy to debunk every one of them and then some. And that’s what I’ll do in this article.

Pro-Latinx argument #1: It is inclusive of people who don’t identify as male or female.

Counter-argument: Listen, you do you. But why invent a gender-neutral term when one already exists? Has no one heard the term “Latin” before? As in “Latin America”? Why not just refer to people as “Latin” and save everyone the trouble of wondering how on Earth to pronounce this made-up term? Don’t like the words “Latino” or "Latina"? Cool! Use “Latin”! End of story.

Pro-Latinx argument #2: Not all people who come from Latin America are descendants of Europeans (specifically Europeans whose countries were once under Roman Empire rule, where Latin was spoken) and therefore have no “Latin” connection.

Counter-argument: It is absolutely true that not all people from Latin America are descended from the former Roman Empire. Latin America is just as much of a melting pot as the United States is, if not even more. But I must ask, if you’re in this category and you’re so pissed about the colonial implications of being called Latin, why would you classify yourself as Latin-anything? What is your ethnic background? Aymara? Quechua? Japanese? Chinese? Russian? (...Etc., etc.). How does adding an “x” to the word "Latin” show who you really are? When you use “Latinx” your true heritage remains invisible to those of us -including other Latin people- who don’t know you well. If you’re a Mapuche, for example, that is very interesting information that people -or at least me- would find fascinating. If you don’t want to call yourself Latin because of colonialism, then why hide under another false term that also implies colonialism?

Pro-Latinx argument #3: The use of “Latinx" is meant to be empowering for people who want to break down stereotypical gender roles and foster equality.

Counter-argument: Adding an x to a word isn’t going to change anything. It is not empowering, it doesn’t make anyone stronger (or weaker), it is simply useless. This is an issue I also have when some feminists change the spelling of “woman” to “wimmin,” “womxn,” and other silly varieties. Nowadays, some folks have taken this silliness to a higher level - they’ll write “persxn,” “herstory,” etc.

Has the removal of any instance of “-man,” “-men,” “his-” or “-son” from random words in English been instrumental in lowering the number of women affected by domestic abuse or sexual harassment? No, it hasn’t. Has it helped women become more empowered? No, it hasn’t. Well, in the same vein, the use of “Latinx" is not going to improve the life of people who come from Latin America, whatever their identity preferences or actual ethnicity may be.

Pro-Latinx argument #4: Language is constantly evolving, so stop complaining.

Counter-argument: Yes, all languages evolve over time, but that’s a natural process. I had never heard of the term “Latinx" until maybe 2 or 3 years ago, and that was only on the internet. I have never actually heard anyone use that term in conversation (unless they were making fun of the term). I only recently learned that it’s pronounced "Latin- ex" and not “Latincks,” both of which sound terrible to me, and I am a Latina who moves in progressive circles!

The internet has given a strong voice to a loud minority, giving the impression that all Latin people in the U.S. demand to be called “Latinx," when this is simply not true. The use of “Latinx" has been rampant in Latin-focused hipster publications and YouTube channels such as Remezcla and Mitú, in mostly elite coastal universities, and in LGBTQ circles, but really nowhere else. Just like “on fleek,” please stop trying to make “Latinx” happen in mainstream culture. Why impose a term on people who reject it? As one anonymous YouTube member said, “Latinx tu Culx.”

More counter-arguments:

It shows ignorance of context and of how Romance languages work: Some people who don’t like the term “Latinx," say that the gender-neutral term in English is “Latino.” I’m OK with this because that is the term that has been usually used to refer to us in the U.S. Even though that "o" at the end may imply male gender, in Spanish (and some other Romance languages, derived from Latin), the “o" is also gender-neutral. Of course, people who are not fluent in Spanish would not understand this. Context is important. It is a lost art.

To this point, here’s an example of the importance of context in another Romance language, Italian: in Italian the formal “you” (“usted” in Spanish) is “Lei,” for men and women. But in Italian, “lei” also means “she/her.” So are we going to scratch the formal "you" in Italian because it “erases” men or people who identify as male? Are we supposed to change the formal expression of “you” in Italian to “Lex” to be inclusive? No, let’s not, ok? Context, people, context.

It’s neocolonialist, how about that?: The fact that a lot of the people who prefer the term “Latinx" are also those who are likely to go on rants against colonialism shows hypocrisy. Ok, so they don’t want to be identified with the Spanish/Portuguese invasion of the Americas, but they’re totally willing to impose some wacky hipster term for the sake of inclusion. This is coming from none other than the good ole’ U.S. of A and being imposed on Latin people who have enough BS to deal with already. No word in Spanish ends in an “x.” Keep that in mind.

It’s a first-world problem: No “regular" person on the streets of a major city or rural town anywhere in Latin America (or the U.S.) even uses the term "Latinx." They’ve likely never even heard of it. I’d bet this term was conceived somewhere in the U.S., by U.S.-born Latinos (heck, whoever came up with this is probably not even Latin), in an elite college, to virtue signal empathy and compassion for people who don’t identify as male or female or as, well, Latin, and score some “super ally” points. The use of “Latinx” is really a way to let others know what social posse you belong to, which, frankly, most people couldn’t care less about. It doesn’t foster inclusivity in any way.

It’s a pain in the ass: At least in writing, all the use of “Latinx" does is make the autocorrect function on our computers and smartphones go berserk - oh, if you only knew how hard writing this article is, just because I have to keep correcting the autocorrect! Seriously, what a hassle!

It’s just creepy: “Latinx" sounds like an illness, or a prescription medication, or some sort of Elon Musk contraption that will blast you into space while some Latin Jazz band plays on the tarmac. Hell, if you think about it, it sounds anti-Latin, as in “Let’s X the Latinos, get rid of them all! Latin-X Squad: Attaaaack!!!” I just conceived a whole B-movie in my head.

Is someone trolling us?: Sometimes I wonder if it was the 4Chan guys who came up with this “Latinx” term just to troll us, knowing that this would garner a “WTF?!” reaction from most Latinos in the U.S. Am I just being taken for the proverbial ride here?

T. Rosa

T. Rosa

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  • That was such a good read. Very stimulating and intelligent.

    "It’s neocolonialist, how about that?"

    "It’s just creepy: “Latinx" sounds like an illness, or a prescription medication, or some sort of Elon Musk contraption that will blast you into space while some Latin Jazz band plays on the tarmac. Hell, if you think about it, it sounds anti-Latin, as in “Let’s X the Latinos, get rid of them all! Latin-X Squad: Attaaaack!!!” I just conceived a whole B-movie in my head."

    No kidding.

    Because of the women I've hung out with in life, I've fallen over myself with the patriarchy embedded in the English language, and to an even bigger extent, in Danish. For example, I've caught myself writing "wo/mankind" or "s/he". It felt like the right thing to do to at the time. But in later reading what I'd written, it was batty as hell. And to what end did i serve the cause? Nada. Only made someone reading a sentence stumble, and click over to something else. LOL. But that's probably a storm in a teacup compared to what LatinX might trigger. I never even heard of it until this article. But then I live on an island over on this side of the pond.