The term “Latinx,” a gender-neutral version of “Latino,” has gained traction in recent years among progressive lawmakers. However, Hispanic Americans are considerably less accepting of the term than some of their representatives seem to think.
However, Democratic lawmakers’ fondness for “Latinx” is not shared by the general public. Pew Research has found that not only do the vast majority of Hispanic Americans (over 96%) not use the term, more than three-quarters had not even heard of it.
Pew Research has also found that 25% of lawmakers in the 116th Congress (between 2019 and 2021) used “Latinx” in their social media posts, although there was a sharp partisan divide: 47% of Democrats had used the term, compared with only 1% of Republicans.
The majority of Hispanic Americans (61%) prefer to use the term “Hispanic” to refer to themselves, while most of the remainder (29%) prefer “Latino.”
Spanish is a heavily gendered language, in which the masculine term “Latino” is used to refer generally to both males and females of Latin American descent, with “Latina” being used specifically for females. “Latinx,” which attempts to do away with the gender distinction, had its first usage among political activists in the 2000s.
In recent years, “Latinx” has picked up steam not just among politicians but also with corporate marketing campaigns. Despite this, it is not a term commonly used in the Spanish language, and Pew also found that Hispanics who speak only Spanish are far less likely to have heard of the term than those who speak English.
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