Rep. Ruben Gallego is fed up with his Democratic Party referring to Hispanics as “Latinx,” saying it is a word used to appease “rich progressives.”
Mr. Gallego, a first-generation American with a Colombian mother and a Mexican father, slammed fellow Democrats for using the term after a poll by Bendixen and Amandi International showed only 2% of Latinos acknowledge the word while 40% are offended by it.
“To be clear, my office is not allowed to use ‘Latinx’ in official communications,” Mr. Gallego tweeted Monday.
The Arizona Democrat continued, “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.”
Between 2016 and 2018, the term Latinx found its way into political activist circles through left-wing academics who sought to find a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino and Latina.
Advocates of the term see Latinx as a gender- and LGBTQ-inclusive term.
Like other Romance languages, Spanish divides endings of nouns into masculine “o’s” or feminine “a’s”. It defaults to the masculine ending when referencing a noun related to both males and females in one group.
Critics of the term, like Mr. Gallego, say it ignores the Spanish language and its gendered form.
“Look y’all,” Mr. Gallego wrote in another tweet, “Hispanic, Latin American are gender-neutral. So we already have gender-neutral terms to describe the Latino community.”
“Adding an X and creating a new word comes off as performative. It will not lose you an election, but if your staff and consultants use Latinx in your mass communication,” he said. “It likely means they don’t understand the Latino community and is indicative of deeper problems.”
The Bendixen and Amandi poll of 800 Hispanic voters polled last month showed that the term “Hispanic” was overwhelmingly the most popular term among all age groups.
Latinx has been unpopular with the Spanish-speaking community for a while.
In 2020, the Pew Research Center found that one in four U.S. Hispanics had heard of Latinx but just 3% used it, and young Hispanic women were the demographic that was most likely to use the term.
• Kerry Picket can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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