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A poll conducted by Gallup confirmed what almost every Hispanic in the United States already knew: nobody likes being called a “Latinx”. The survey, conducted between June 1st and July 5th, sampled around 1,381 U.S adults weighted to proportionally represent Hispanics and Black Americans, found out that only 5% of Hispanics prefer being called “Latinx” when giving the choice.
The poll asked two questions to respondents on whether they preferred the terms Hispanic, Latino, or Latinx. In the first question, they also give the option “it does not matter” to the surveyed, while in the second one they limited the options to the three terms.
In the first question, a whopping 57% of respondents said that “it does not matter” which term is used to refer to them, 23% said they preferred the use of “Hispanic”, 15% liked “Latino” more, and only a meager 4% thought people should use “Latinx”. When forcing respondents to take one of the three options the numbers do not improve for “Latinx”, as 57% say they like Hispanics the most, 37% said Latino, and only 5% chose “Latinx”.
This poll is not an outlier, a similar study was conducted by the Pew Research Center last year in August, also found out that only 3% of Hispanic Americans actively used “Latinx” as a term and that almost 75% of Hispanics have not even heard of the term. Young Hispanics are slightly more likely to use the term than older ones, as 7% of under 30 Hispanics said they say “Latinx”, compared to barely 2% from adults over 30 years old.
While Hispanics do not use “latinx” Democratic politicians and mainstream media do
Despite the growing body of evidence suggesting that Hispanics neither like nor use “Latinx”, this has not prevented both Democratic politicians to use the term. President Joe Biden was criticized for saying that the “Latinx” community was more hesitant to get vaccinated because they feared deportation, other progressives like Rep. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez (D-NY), or former HUD Secretary Julian Castro have used the term. Even journalists like Univision’s Jorge Ramos have used the term in his writings.
In fact, a Pew Research study shows that while the Hispanic community does not use “Latinx”, democratic politicians have eagerly adopted the term. According to Pew, 47% of Democratic lawmakers have used “Latinx” in their social media during 2020, a stark contrast from the 3% of Hispanics that used the label in Twitter between 2019 and 2020.
Media outlets started trumpeting the odd-sounding term some years ago. In 2018, Times magazine published an article titled “Why ‘Latinx’ Is Succeeding While Other Gender-Neutral Terms Fail to Catch On” which quoted Ed Morales, a lecturer at Columbia University’s Center for Ethnic Studies, saying that he was seeing “less and less resistance to it” and that he believed the word would “become the standard”.
The Times article also accurately pointed out that many mainstream media outlets had started to use the term regularly in their pieces, many of them continue to do so despite evidence that the Hispanic community is agnostic on it. The Los Angeles Times created in November 2020 a newsletter aimed at Latino issues titled “The Latinx Files”, NPR has used the term as recently as July 2021, Univision also used the term in October 2020, while CNBC and NBC constantly use the unpopular term in its news coverage.
Are the days of “Latinx” finally over?
Somewhat lately, other mainstream media outlets have started to question the use of the term, with the Washington Post publishing an article explaining why “Latinx” will never catch on, and Billboard also publishing a piece describing the failure of “Latinx” to make a mark on the community it is supposed to represent.
Using a word that cannot be pronounced in Spanish to define a community where language plays a vital unifying role, that does not arise organically from the Hispanic people, and that is largely unknown for the majority of Hispanics is frankly outraging.
It is very hypocritical to claim to give minority communities a voice and then ignoring them in such a simple (but important) issue. If Democrats do not even refer to Hispanics as they like, what can we expect with other more policy-substantive issues? Will they be aligned with Hispanics’ views in the economy? Policing? Foreign Policy?
It appears that the attempt by some members of the academic elite of imposing an unpopular term to the Hispanic Community has failed. Let’s hope that Democratic politicians get the memo.
Daniel is a Political Science and Economics student from the University of South Florida. He worked as a congressional intern to Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) from January to May 2020. He also is the head of international analysis at Politiks // Daniel es un estudiante de Cs Políticas y Economía en la Universidad del Sur de la Florida. Trabajo como pasante legislativo para el Representate Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) desde enero hasta mayo del 2020. Daniel también es el jefe de análisis internacional de Politiks.