Culture

What Shall We Call Us? The Debate Around “Latinx” Continues

Alex Alvarez / mitú

If you’ve spent any amount of time on the internet, 1) yikes and 2) you’re probably familiar with seeing “Latino/a,” which is clunkily condensed as “Latin@.” It’s been around for a while and is, ostensibly, a way to streamline the label, while applying to both men and women.

More and more, you might have noticed a new option popping up online: Latinx.

So, how is Latinx different from Latin@, exactly?

For one, it’s easier and faster to type out, which is kind of nice for the lazily-inclined among us. It’s also a term that allows for intersectionality and includes identities beyond a gender binary. It is, in a word, inclusive.

The term, though relatively new, has already inspired its share of controversy and debate. The site Latino Rebels, for instance, featured arguments both in favor of and against the term, taking into account factors like the history and implications of the term “Latino,” the term’s ties (or lack thereof) to the Spanish language, and the idea of subverting or reclaiming existing terms rather than creating new news.

latinx
Credit: Alex Alvarez / mitú

For example, in their argument for the use of Latinx, professors María R. Scharréon-Del Río and Alan A. Aja write that opposing “Latinx” on the grounds that it isn’t in Spanish shows a narrow view of what it really means, historically and right now, to belong to this particular group:

Are we not aware that upon the arrival of the conquistadores and subsequent acts of genocide, a few thousand indigenous languages existed in the Americas, and a few resilient hundred continue to be spoken today? Not to mention the attempted erasure of African languages via the violence of slavery and colonialism.

Moreover, indigenous languages in Latin America (and throughout the world) range from the genderless to the multigendered, going beyond the binary. This is another instance in which Guerra and Orbea, while claiming to denounce imperialism, actually fall into one of the markers of colonization: the erasure of indigenous history and its cultural legacy.

As for an argument against adopting the term, Latino Rebels deputy editor Hector Luis Alamo writes that, among other factors, the label doesn’t actually ensure that its adopters do the work needed to address issues surrounding intersectionality and gender and, besides, words and their meanings aren’t necessarily immutable:

For those hung up on the -o, I suggest they worry less about the history of Latino and discover its present meaning. Language isn’t dead, after all, but living. Definitions continue to transform all the time, all around us. The word no longer applies strictly to male Latinos but all Latinos, just as the “men” in “all men are created equal” now means all people. The word queer, for example, literally means “odd” or “worthless,” a fact which doesn’t keep millions in the LGBT community from donning the term proudly. The word Latino, once a fork, has evolved into a spork, and so there’s no reason to invent an all-purpose substitute.

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Credit: Alex Alvarez / mitú

Latina magazine, for its part, asked several transgender and gender non-conforming people to share why they personally prefer the term. One respondent explained that, for them, “The ‘x’ in Afro-Latinx serves as a nod to my gender neutrality and my commitment to a lack of participation in the gender binary.” Another noted that Spanish is a very gendered language adding, “So what about non-binary trans people? We love our culture and want to be included, too. I identify as Latinx to assure everyone’s voice is heard.”

It’s also worth pointing out that many of the same arguments that hold true for Latinx can also be applied to Chicanx.

So tell us: What do you think of the term?

Do you use it? Do you think it’s more relevant than using “Latino/a” or “Latin@”? Or maybe you identity as none of those terms and want to share which one you prefer!

Either way, let us know. We’re all ears.

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Credit: Tumblr

WATCH: Being Latina Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All: I Like to Listen to Heavy Metal, I Like Tattoos and I’m Latina

Want to share your views? We want to hear ’em. Tell us what you think, below.

The Daily Show’ Tried To Use The Term ‘Latinx’ And People Weren’t Happy About It

Entertainment

The Daily Show’ Tried To Use The Term ‘Latinx’ And People Weren’t Happy About It

Latino, Latinx, or Hispanic? You’ve heard all of those terms before, and you have, of course, also heard the arguments that come over their use. Nowadays, many younger generations of Latinx folks decide to opt for “Latinx” because it’s more inclusive but there are still others who haven’t fully accepted or adopted this term in their daily lives. 

Many people who are of Mexican, Argentinian, Cuban, Guatemalan, Honduran, Nicaraguan (and many other countries!) descent, have a difficult time coming agreeing to one term that everyone can identify as. 

But that’s the point of having different opinions and experiences, so it’s important to learn more about one’s history and also be open to another’s point of view.

Reddit user u/Aldopeck posted a status on the thread r/stupidpol posted about the Daily Show trying to use “Latinx to seem woke to Spanish people. All the Latinos in the comment section react saying ‘Latinx’ is a bullshit term that’s never going to be a thing.” 

Many people have also tried to make sense of whether Latino, Latinx or Hispanic is any “better” or “more inclusive” of a term. For example, last year, Remezcla published an extensive article on a brief but thorough history of how these words originated.  “Through my conversations and research into the background of these terms, it became clear that the origins and evolution of what we call ourselves is as complicated as our history in the United States,” writes Yara Simón for Remezcla on the topic

“We’ll probably never find a perfect term, especially as some prefer to identify as their (or their family’s) country of origin.”

Arturo Castro went on the Daily Show last month to talk to Trevor Noah about his latest sketch show “Alternatino.” In the segment, Castro spoke to Noah about how difficult it was to juggle his characters from “Broad City” and “Narcos.” But he also talked about his heritage and how his experiences as a Latino influence his work. 

“You know, being Latino, everybody sort of expects you to be, like, suave, you know, and really like spicy food or be really good at dancing,” Castro said. “I really like matcha, you know?”

But regardless of his matcha-loving ways, Castro is very intentional about uplifting his community (he’s from Guatemala) and isn’t one to shy away from major issues affecting people of color through his Comedy Central sketch show, “Alternatino.” For example, earlier this week, Comedy Central aired an episode of “Alternatino” that includes a mass-shooting-themed sketch

In “The Daily Show” interview, Noah then asks Castro, “what do you think some of the biggest misconceptions are about being Latino that you’ve come across in America that you try and debunk in the show?” 

To which Castro replies, “Well, you know, there’s this thing about being ultra-violent or being lazy. Like, you know, the most common misconception is about Latino immigrants being lazy. Where I find Latino immigrants to be some of the hardest-working people in the world, right?” 

While Arturo Castro dropped some gems during the interview, notice that his quotes all referred to his community and himself as “Latino”? Well, when The Daily Show shared a promotional post on Facebook about the interview, they used the term “Latinx” and people were not happy about it.

“Arturo Castro pokes fun at Latinx stereotypes on his new sketch series, “Alternatino,” the social team for The Daily Show wrote on Facebook. 

It didn’t take long for the backlash to pop up in the comments section.

Users were quick to comment on the use of the term Latinx, and criticize the show for inserting the word into Castro’s quote.

While the argument about whether one should use Latino, Latinx, or Hispanic is still up in the air, people can’t help but have opinions about it. 

A reddit user argued that “you can’t really say [Latinx] in Spanish. I mean you can ‘Latin-equis’ but nobody does. The whole thing just reeks of white liberal wokeness being imposed on a community of smelly unfortunates. If they’re so concerned with gendered languages why don’t they do the same thing with French, Italian, Hebrew, Arabic, etc.?” 

But other Facebook commenters weren’t going to let people off the hook for criticizing The Daily Show’s use of “Latinx” in their promotion. 

As one Facebook user pointed out, “not everyone identifies as binary male/female…hence the use of Latinx…it is for people who can’t or won’t identify as either. If you don’t like Latinx then don’t use it…see how simple that was?”

So, what’s it going to be? Latinx, Latino, or Hispanic? This social outrage also begs the question, if someone didn’t refer to themselves as “Latinx,” then should you omit the use of that term completely? Should brands be thinking harder about this before they hit post? 

You tell us! Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

The Second Ever Miss Trans Belleza Mexico Happened This Weekend Offering The Trans Community More Visibility

Culture

The Second Ever Miss Trans Belleza Mexico Happened This Weekend Offering The Trans Community More Visibility

Miss Trans Belleza Mexico / Facebook

The trans community is one of the most vulnerable in society. Hate and bigotry lead to senseless and violent deaths of trans women around the world and Mexico is one of the worst countries when it comes to protecting trans people. That is why pageants like Miss Trans Belleza Mexico is so important in promoting acceptance of the trans community. Miss Trans Belleza Mexico 2019 has been crowned and everyone is so excited to see her own that crown.

The new Miss Trans Belleza Mexico has been crowned and she deserves that crown.

Credit: Miss Trans Belleza Mexico / Facebook

It is the second year that the pageant took place and it all went down in Mexico City. Women representing 21 states in Mexico competed in a four-hour competition where questions touched on climate change and human rights, according to the Associated Press.

Ivanna Cázares, Miss Colima, won the contest and was crowned Miss Trans Belleza Mexico 2019.

The pageant was created to give trans women in Mexico more visibility as the community fights for basic rights and acceptance.

Credit: Miss Trans Belleza Mexico / Facebook

According to the Transgender Law Center, 261 trans women were murdered in Mexico between 2008 and 2013. A high number of transphobic attacks on trans women happen in Mexico City, which has laws meant to protect the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination and physical attacks.

The women, representing several states throughout Mexico, dazzled the crowd.

Credit: Miss Trans Belleza Mexico / Facebook

Like all beauty pageants, there were amazing outfits. The women were judged on swimsuit, evening wear, and traditional regional wear. According to the Associated Press, there was a brief protest from one of the contestants but the competition continued with Miss Colima being crowned the winner.

Flypy Morales is the woman who created the pageant.

Credit: Miss Trans Belleza Mexico / Facebook

Morales is an activist and president of the organization called Por un Veracruz Sin Discriminación. She has addressed state leaders about their disinterest in promoting and helping with cultural events that happen in the state. Her voice within the trans community has been pivotal in fighting against government discrimination.

The beauty pageant is more than a competition. It is giving these women a sisterhood.

Credit: Miss Trans Belleza Mexico / Facebook

Congratulations to all of the contestants for their bravery in being who they are and living their truth. The world would be better with more people like you.

READ: Maria Joaquina Is The 11-Year-Old Trans Latina Skater Changing The World Of Competition

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