5 Reasons You Should Replace "Latino" with "Latinx"

5 Reasons You Should Replace "Latino" with "Latinx"

With growing usage of the word "Latinx" has come increased opposition to it.

Last year, two men of Latin American descent laid out their argument against the term, pronounced La-teen-ex, by calling its practice a form of "linguistic imperialism." Their argument: Making Spanish palabras gender-inclusive would mean the death of the Spanish language, rather than just the long-overdue end of the immanent sexism of the idioma. More recently, Dave Huber, a white conservative editor with literally nothing at stake with the use of “Latinx,” criticized the “feminist” and “socially conscious” people who dare demand that their lengua not be exclusionary and oppressive.

To help kill this noise, here’s why you should either continue saying “Latinx” or start replacing “Latino” with this more inclusive term to describe our gente.

MORE: Why We Say Latinx: Trans & Gender Non-Conforming People Explain

Inclusivity. Latinx challenges the gender binary by including the countless people of Latin American descent who neither identify as women nor men. It ensures that the voices, stories and struggles of agender, nonbinary, genderqueer, genderfluid and other gender non-conforming people are included in the conversation.

Crush the Patriarchy. Latinx objects to the sexism inherent in the Spanish language. In español, a crowd of nine “Latinas” becomes a group of “Latinos” the moment one man joins in, giving superiority to men even in our idioma. Latinx leaves no room for sexist language because the identifier includes people of all genders.

Decolonize. The “X” embraces our indigenous roots. Oftentimes, people of Latin American descent replace the original "ch" in words with the letter "X" (e.g. Chicana vs. Xicana). This deliberate change pays homage to indigenous languages, particularly Nahuatl, la idioma of what is now referred to as central Mexico. While the pronunciation of Latinx isn't Latin-ch, the "X" can still be seen as a weapon against a language (and term) forced upon us, a reclaiming of indigenismo and a declaration of solidarity.

Educate. Whether writing “Latinx” in school papers, Facebook posts or email exchanges, you’re going to come across comments like “you misspelled Latino” or “what do you mean by Latinx?” In other words, by just using “Latinx” you are creating a space to educate people on what the term means and why it is necessary for real inclusivity and solidarity.

PLUS: Old White Dude Mansplains Why He Doesn't Think "Latinx" Should be a Word

Organize. Using “Latinx” is an act of social justice, because it’s an intentional effort to include people of marginalized identities (gender non-conforming folks), smash the patriarchy, decolonize our language and educate others. It’s a word we can unite around to do work that is simultaneously pro-LGBTQIA, feminist, anti-colonialist as well as racial and immigrant justice.