The bill was authored by five Democratic members of the state House of Representatives, all of whom are of Hispanic descent. The bill was at least partly inspired by Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ move to ban the term “Latinx” from state government. The move also comes amid broad distaste for the word among Latinos.
The text of the bill reads:
[T]he general statutes [shall] be amended to prohibit any state agency, or state employee on behalf of a state agency, from using the term “Latinx” on any official communications or forms of the state agency.
It was introduced by five members of the state House: state Reps. Geraldo C. Reyes, Christopher Rosario, Juan R. Candelaria, Robert Sanchez, and Minnie Gonzalez.
Reyes blasted the word “Latinx” itself as a woke term that is offensive to the Constitution State’s sizeable Hispanic population; some 17.7% of the residents are Hispanic, according to the Census Bureau. “I’m of Puerto Rican descent and I find it offensive,” Reyes told the Associated Press. “The Spanish language, which is centuries old, defaults to Latino for everybody. It’s all-inclusive. They didn’t need to create a word, it already exists.”
Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders banned the word from state documents in January. “All state offices, departments, and agencies, unless granted an exemption by the Governor, shall review official documents of their respective entities regarding the use of the term ‘Latinx,’ ‘latinx,’ ‘Latinxs,’ or ‘latinxs’ in official state documents,” her order stated. It also ordered agencies to identify all instances of the term in state documents, and within 60 days, replace all of them with some form of “Hispanic,” “Latino,” or “Latina.”
“This has been offensive and derogatory to all Puerto Ricans, and it’s something that hasn’t sat well with a lot of people here for a while.” Reyes added to CT Insider. “When I found out that Arkansas Gov. [Sanders] banned it on her first day in the office, I saw that as an opportunity for me to do the same thing.” Reyes, however, criticized Sanders’ move, saying she had “other motivations” for banning the word in Arkansas government documents.
A search on the state website reveals that at least 920 state documents contain the word “Latinx.”
A national poll conducted in October found that only 1% of Hispanics identify as “Latinx,” a gender-neutral term imposed on Hispanics by left-wing culture. WPA Intelligence, a conservative polling firm that collaborated with Visto Media on behalf of the Latino advocacy group Bienvenido, conducted a poll of 1,288 Hispanic registered Democrat, Republican, and Independent voters.
The poll found that the community prefers to be identified as Hispanic, while others said American or Latino.
Respondents to the poll were asked to choose from a list of options as to why many Hispanics have not embraced the term — a combined 35% of Democrats blamed Hispanics rejecting the made-up term on “machismo culture” or “too much homophobia and transphobia among Hispanics.”
Other reasons Democrats believe the term has failed to catch on with Hispanic culture range from “right-wing disinformation” or simply because Hispanics take pride in their culture as it stands. In contrast, about 14% have no idea what the term means.
Meanwhile, most Republicans said it’s because Hispanics like their culture.
Brandon Drey contributed to this report.