One of the first things that Arkansas’ new governor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, did upon taking office on Jan. 10 was to issue an executive order banning the use of the woke, made-up word “Latinx” in state government business and official documents.
Then, on Feb. 1, taking their cue from Ms. Sanders, a Republican, five Hispanic Democratic state legislators in liberal Connecticut called for that same gender-neutral term, “Latinx” (mispronounced “Lateenex”— rhymes with “Kleenex”— by our hapless president), to be banned in official government business there as well.
The five lawmakers’ one-paragraph bill, HB 6384, introduced in the Connecticut General Assembly, reads: “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened: That the general statutes 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.”
“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,” the bill’s chief sponsor, state Rep. Geraldo Reyes Jr., Waterbury Democrat, told CTInsider.com. “When I found out that [Ms. Sanders] banned it on her first day in the office, I saw that as an opportunity for me to do the same thing.”
The Arkansas chief executive’s statement speaks for itself: “Ethnically insensitive and pejorative language has no place in official government documents or government employee titles,” Ms. Sanders’ executive order stated. “The government has a responsibility to respect its citizens and use ethnically appropriate language, particularly when referring to ethnic minorities.”
It goes on to say: “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.”
The affected Arkansas state agencies were instructed to report back to Ms. Sanders’ office highlighting all instances in which the word is used and “within sixty (60) days of this Order, all state offices, departments, and agencies shall revise all existing written materials by replacing the terms ‘Latinx,’ ‘latinx,’ ‘Latinxs,’ or ‘latinxs’ with ‘Hispanic,’ ‘Hispanics,’ ‘Latino,’ ‘Latinos,’ ‘Latina,’ or ‘Latinas.’”
Ms. Sanders’ and Mr. Reyes’ actions notwithstanding, polls overwhelmingly find that Hispanics themselves neither like nor use the term “Latinx.” The Pew Research Center reported in August 2020 on the results of a bilingual survey of U.S. Hispanic adults it had conducted the prior December that found that “only 23% of U.S. adults who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino have heard of the term ‘Latinx,’ and just 3% say they use it to describe themselves.”
A newer poll, this one from October, shows the term’s favorability has not improved with age — or with its use by the left. To the contrary, the survey conducted by WPA Intelligence and Visto Media for Bienvenido of 1,288 registered Hispanic voters (1,086 of them likely voters) found that when asked “How do you prefer to be identified?” just 1% opted for “Latinx.”
That’s an epic fail when you consider the concerted effort that’s been made by woke leftists (most of them, incidentally, non-Hispanic Whites), in cahoots with the LGBTQ lobby, the Democratic Party, the liberal media, and much of academia and trendy corporate America to push the term into mainstream acceptance and use.
It’s met resistance in no small part because it runs counter to the grammatical structure of Romance languages — such as Spanish, French and Italian — that routinely assign gender to nouns, both in suffixes, such as the -a and -o in Latina and Latino, and in the articles that precede nouns (e.g., “la,” “el,” “las,” and “los”).
As such, “Latinx” is nothing more than gender-neutral virtue signaling, created by and for the perpetually aggrieved woke — again, most of them White non-Hispanics — and for the vanishingly small number of people who “identify” as “nonbinary.”
Language should not be twisted like a pretzel in service of a radical political agenda or to accommodate and placate a vocal but minuscule minority.
Even if you disagreed with the premise behind its creation by misandrist feminists in the 1970s, whose creed was “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle,” the title “Ms.” found a practical purpose as an honorific when you didn’t know a woman’s marital status.
But “Latinx” has no such redeeming social value. We shouldn’t lend it undue legitimacy by using the term — or, for that matter, indulge the left on any of its other linguistic fabrications, such as “cisgender,” “deadname,” or the singular “they” for the self-styled “nonbinary.”
• Peter Parisi is a former editor for The Washington Times.