If you follow politics closely, chances are that you have encountered the word “Latinx” in recent years. From freshman congresswoman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to the DNC to left-wing outlet We Are Mitu, it has become a popular term among progressives who say it’s a more inclusive way to refer to people (like me) of Latin-American ancestry.
Allow me to explain their mindset: Many words in Spanish are gendered. For instance: la silla (the chair) is female and el auto (the car) is male. Plural nouns may also take a masculine or feminine form with the former describing groups of people that include individuals of both genders. Hence, los medicos (the doctors), los americanos (the Americans), and so forth.
Progressives have now decided that the binary nature of Spanish is incompatible with wokeness and they intend to bury what they believe is a remnant of colonial patriarchy. Since there is no discernible limit to what the far Left is willing to do in the name of equality of outcome, everything is on the table. In Latin America, there are now efforts on college campuses to upend the entire Spanish language.
But dismantling Spanish poses a logistical nightmare for the far Left, since it is the primary language of 500 million people across 20 countries. Also, unlike English, Spanish has an official referee. A board of linguists known as La Real Academia Española (The Spanish Royal Academy) preserves the language’s integrity and has already rejected “Latinx.”
The far Left is cunning, though. They recognize that “Latinx” will never catch on organically. To overcome these obstacles, leftists are now resorting to emotional manipulation. What began around 2004 as a substitute for “Latin@” has been reframed as pro-LGBT equality. However, by arguing that the traditional use of “Latinos” excludes people who identify as gender-fluid, progressives are deceiving Americans. Indeed, the Left’s latest linguistic crusade has nothing to do with inclusiveness at all — it’s about cultural control and hegemony.
Unfortunately, we all know how this will play out. Those who prefer “Latinos” over “Latinx” will be publicly shamed and accused of bigotry. Since most people would rather not be shoved out of the Overton window, corporate boardrooms and celebrities will eventually buckle to leftist demands. In fact, the term is already being embraced by major corporations.
The way forward for conservatives, moderates, and reasonable liberals is to not acquiesce an inch to the Left’s pedantry and linguistic gaslighting. Rejecting “Latinx” has nothing to do with being mean; it’s about standing up to bullies with the full confidence that facts, reason, and decency are on our side.
Here’s what you need to know.
First, English is a gender-neutral language. So, if you are speaking English and refer to a group of people as “Latinos,” you have not mis-gendered anyone.
Next, if you are unsure what to call someone who identifies as “non-binary,” just say “Latin.” This word dates back over a millennia and has been an appropriate way to refer to people of Latin American origin for decades.
Finally, regardless of what your woke friend who minored in Spanish says (oh, the irony of our cultural overlords from Brooklyn dictating to minorities how to speak their language!), rest assured that “Latinos” is also gender-inclusive in español. Yes, plural words in Spanish include everybody.
In fairness to our progressive friends, it’s likely that centuries-old machismo is why today’s plural terms for mixed-sex groups are the same ones also used for male-only groups. However, it’s unclear what, if any, problem this poses. Even if a problem did exist, dismantling a language where even inanimate objects and adjectives are gendered opens a Pandora’s box.
Non-Spanish speakers should care about this because language is the Left’s Trojan horse. As Orwell noted: “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” You see, the radical Left has always understood that how we speak shapes how we think. Even if it’s unwitting, by dismembering Spanish, the Left would insidiously advance many of the diabolical ends once set forth by Marx — namely severing people from their families, cultural traditions, and their religion.
Butchering Spanish would strain intergenerational communication and the ability to disseminate and share common values. If children have trouble speaking to their moms, dads, and grandparents, or if they believe the way their family speaks reinforces oppression, this will surely build resentment and weaken family bonds. In due course, the absence of strong, loving families will create a void that the far Left will gladly fill with its governmental leviathan and its cultural proxy, Hollywood.
Another offspring of the far Left’s linguistic tyranny could emerge in education by promoting critical theory from the fringes of college campuses to the mainstream of American grade schools. It’s not difficult to imagine indoctrinated high school Spanish students deconstructing José Martí’s Cultivo Una Rosa Blanca (I cultivate a white rose) and lamenting the gendering of flowers as female “because of the patriarchy,” or some other silliness.
Left to their own devices, the far Left would ruin a beautiful culture. Before you know it, a timeless classic, like Manzanero’s “Somos Novios,” (We Are Lovers) sung by Elvis Presley as “It’s Impossible,” would become “Somos Novixs.” Needless to say, “Lx Macaranx” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
As someone who believes in treating everyone with kindness, I understand why some might find “Latinx” appealing, but it is ultimately a radical solution in search of an imaginary problem. First-generation Americans already have plenty of real challenges to deal with to have to preoccupy ourselves with the extreme Left’s interminable pathologies, complexes, and electoral interest in cultivating insecurities in others.
Let’s take a hard pass on this insanity by saying clearly, firmly, and unequivocally: No, you will not call us Latinx.
Giancarlo Sopo is a public affairs consultant and opinion writer. Follow him at @GiancarloSopo.