“In my own encounters, I’ve come across the Latinx community…”

“The what?” I interjected.


“Did a Latino individual suggest you use that term? How did you learn it?” I asked.

“I thought it was the most appropriate term; many universities use it,” he explained.

This discussion doesn’t align with a specific ideological divide; it occurred with someone holding conservative viewpoints. Despite the ongoing culture wars, the discourse surrounding the term “Latinx” isn’t a political battle between the right and the left. Instead, for Latinos, it stands as a cultural matter.

Contrary to what many academic settings may claim, only 3% of Latinos use Latinx. Ironically, though the word aims to be inclusive, 40% of Latinos are offended by the word “Latinx.”

In a recent poll, most Hispanics, born foreign and native-born, indicated they are less likely to support organizations or politicians that use the term “Latinx.” 

I think the aversion to the term stems from two reasons: firstly, many Latinos lean towards an objective understanding of biological sex, acknowledging that only males and females exist. Secondly, the term “Latinx” changes a key element of our culture—the language.

In the survey concerning the term “Latinx,” less than 1% of respondents identified with anything other than the categories of male or female. Using the term “Latinx” forces the majority to comply with a very loud minority. 

This sentiment was recently echoed by the famous Carlos Santana who said, “A woman is a woman and a man is a man — that’s it.” He later received backlash from the media.

Additionally, Latinos are arguably the most ethnically diverse group, ranging from Afro-Latinos to indigenous Latinos, white Latinos, and more—simply put, we are not a monolith. 

When you ask a Latino about their ethnicity, they will often respond with the region their family is from rather than Latino or ‘Latinx’. For example, I’m a Mexican American or Chicano (a Mexican American with indigenous roots from Los Angeles).

In my personal experience, I have heard the term “Latinx” used more in an academic setting by non-Hispanics than within my community. 

Spanish plays a significant role within Latino culture, carrying an implicit expectation of language fluency or, at the very least, basic conversational skills. This is not to suggest that speaking Spanish determines one’s authenticity; rather, it signifies that Spanish is intricately woven into the fabric of Latino American life.

Ironically, a term meant to promote inclusivity ends up fostering exclusivity, leaving out many Latinos who only speak Spanish. With 422 million Spanish speakers worldwide, why should they conform to a word primarily used by English speakers?

Many of us have parents and grandparents whose primary language is Spanish; they are unfamiliar with the term ‘Latinx’ because it does not exist in their language. ‘Latinx’ is an English term that excludes our elders.

‘Latinx’ seems to represent a form of cultural “whitewashing” within Latino culture. If someone truly seeks a gender-neutral word, they could opt for “Latine” instead of “Latinx.” The transition from the Spanish language to “Latinx” involves replacing a Spanish term with an Anglo-American one, effectively altering our identity to English.

As Dr. Betancur, a Professor at CUNY Bronx Community College, writes, “But when it comes to ‘Latinx’ and ‘Latine,’ the question is not a matter of personal choice, as many claim. This assertion creates a false equivalence between the terms. I use ‘Latine’ because inclusive language should not prioritize literacy over orality, English over Spanish[.]”

While left-leaning perspectives often champion discussions about colonization and its implications, it’s interesting that the transformation from “Latino” to “Latinx” resembles linguistic colonization.

When universities adopt words like Latinx, they are forcing Hispanics to identify with a term that the majority of us don’t identify with, a word detached from our culture and the language of our family. 

Latino has long been used as an all-encompassing term to describe Latinos; if one must use a different word, he or she could use “Latine,” but even that may raise concerns among the Hispanic community. 

By employing terms like “Latinx,” we inadvertently create a generational gap that excludes our grandparents from the discourse due to their unfamiliarity with the term. Furthermore, there’s a concern that such language might inadvertently diminish a portion of the cultural identity of Hispanic Americans.