Does Anybody Really Want To Be Called Latinx?
Do you know what the term Latinx means? It’s a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina that arose in academia before spreading to trendy celebrities, media pundits, and virtue-signaling politicians. As of now, however, the people to whom that term applies aren’t buying it. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that only 3 percent of U.S. Hispanics use Latinx to identify themselves. A large majority of Hispanics—76 percent of them—have never even heard of the term, which Merriam-Webster included in its 2018 dictionary.
This result echoes findings from November 2019 that, despite being, as Reason noted at the time, “a favorite of campus activists and ethnic studies departments,” Latinx appealed to only 2 percent of Hispanics nationwide.
The irony is that the term Hispanic is inclusive and gender-neutral but, as the Pew study explains, it spurred “resistance” in the 1990s because “it embraced a strong connection with Spain.” However, its gender-specific and hence suddenly problematic replacement, Latino, hardly severs all connections with Spain, let alone with European imperialism.
As historian John Phelan explained, one of the earliest proponents of the concept of a “Latin America” as an alternative to the older “Spanish America” was Michel Chevalier, a 19th-century French political economist who, “as early as 1855…spelled out a geo-ideological program which could serve as a rationale for
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