Why LatinX and NOT Latino?
Some people like to be called Hispanics if they speak Spanish, Latinos if they’re from Latin-America, and now there’s LatinX.
Latinx (pronounced “La-Teen-ex”) is a gender-inclusive way of referring to people of Latin American descent. Used by activists and some academics, the term is gaining traction among the general public. But where did LatinX originate, and is everyone agreeing to use it?
Spanish is a very gendered language, which means that every noun has a gender. In general, nouns that end in “a” are feminine and nouns that end in “o” are masculine. While some nouns keep their gender when they become plural, others change based on gender composition when referring to a given group of people.
This approach, however, always defers to the masculine gender as dominant. An example would be, if you had a room full of girlfriends, it’d be full of amigas, with the “a” serving as an indicator of everyone’s gender as female. So let’s say when a male walks in, the gender changes once again! Instead of the “a” this time, it turns into a “o”. This acknowledges the presence of at least one man. No matter how many women are in the room.