Woke speech codes suffered a major setback when some Hispanic lawmakers and the country’s oldest Hispanic rights group put the kibosh on the use of the transgender-friendly term “Latinx.”
The rejection of the Latinx label even extended to prominent Democratic lawmakers.
“I’m Latina, you know. Latinx — that’s, bull——,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, a New York Democrat and the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the House.
The League of United Latin American Citizens, the oldest Hispanic civil rights group in the U.S., also kicked Latinx to the curb.
Domingo Garcia, the group’s president, told its communications team and board of directors last week to stop using the term in official communications. Mr. Garcia later described his ban as a death knell for Latinx.
“We probably put a stake in the heart of that Latinx movement. I think we’re killing it,” he told The Washington Times. “I don’t have anything against people who want to use it and want to define themselves by it. LULAC just decided that we need to move on with terms that are more inclusive and more in use by everyday Joses and Marias.”
He said the term is “very unliked” by most Hispanics.
A Bendixen & Amandi International poll of 800 Hispanic voters last month found that only 2% acknowledged the word and 40% were offended by it.
What’s more, 30% said they would be less likely to support a politician or organization that uses the term Latinx.
Latinx was created as an English-language gender-neutral and LGBTQ-inclusive term to refer to Hispanics. The revolt against the term underscores how the far left is driving Hispanics from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.
Democrats have counted on their domination of the Hispanic vote, but a Wall Street Journal poll released last week showed Hispanics split at 37% for Democrats and 37% for Republicans, with 22% undecided, in a generic congressional vote.
Hispanic leaders and media overwhelmingly cheered the LULAC ban of the term, said Mr. Garcia, estimating that the feedback was 99% positive.
“Everybody says it’s about time. Why are people trying to define us when we already defined ourselves? It’s been like a groundswell of support,” he said. “Probably 95% of Latinos have never heard of the term. They don’t use the term, and it’s sort of an Ivy League, Eastern media concoction. That’s primarily where it’s used.”
The Hispanic pushback against Latinx shocked the political left, which considers it part of liberal culture.
Actor Vico Ortiz, who is Hispanic and nonbinary, defended Latinx during a recent interview on NBC’s “Today.” He called the Spanish language “incredibly binary.”
“The language is very male-centered, and anything else is treated as an other. I use neutral pronouns to include and honor everyone and call attention to how this gendered language has done everything it can to erase people,” Ortiz said.
Rep. Adriano Espaillat, New York Democrat, said he and his children use Latinx often.
“This is a modern term. In the future, It’s going to be a common word. I use it all the time. My children use it,” he said. “In terms of gender, Latinx is neutral.”
Mr. Espaillat said he uses all masculine forms of the Spanish word “man” and feminine forms of the Spanish word “woman.”
However, several members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus told The Times that they take issue with Latinx.
Rep. Ruben Gallego, Arizona Democrat, went on a Twitter rant last week about Latinx: “When Latino politicos use the term, it is largely to appease White rich progressives who think that is the term we use. … It is a vicious circle of confirmation bias.”
Mr. Gallego instructed his staff to stop using the term in official communications.
For some Spanish speakers, Latinx is an affront to their language. Latinx does not translate into Spanish.
Like other Romance languages, Spanish divides most endings of nouns into masculine o’s or feminine a’s. It defaults to the masculine ending when referencing a noun related to males and females in one group.
While several Hispanic leaders stepped up to defy the Latinx trend, others see it as inevitable that the woke culture will prevail.
Rep. Grace Napolitano, California Democrat, said she does not use the word, but times have changed.
“I am Latina Mexican. When times change, words or meanings change. Each generation has their own way of saying things,” she said. “I personally don’t use the term Latinx. Once upon a time, the old terms were used, but when it is over, new words are used.”
• S.A. Miller contributed to this report.
• Kerry Picket can be reached at email@example.com.
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