There’s a lot of debate around Latino vs Latinx, and which is politically correct. In this article, I discuss:
- Latino vs Latina — masculine vs feminine language
- What is Latinx vs Latino? — Latinx origin and when to use Latinx vs Latino
- How do you pronounce Latinx? — the proper Latinx pronunciation
- Latine vs Latinx — is one more politically correct than the other?
- Latinx vs Hispanic — what research shows people prefer
Latino vs Latina
Spanish, like other languages of love, classify their nouns as either masculine or feminine. This is where the words “Latino” and “Latina” come from. A Wikipedia page about Hispanic and Latino ethnic categories explains:
“Latino is traditionally reserved for males and Latina for females. A group of Latina women is termed “Latinas“, whereas a group of Latino men or a combination of Latino and Latina individuals are designated as “Latinos“.”
But what do you call a person or group of people who do not identify with gender as being only male or female? This is where Latinx comes in.
What is Latinx vs Latino?
In 2019, the Associated Press stylebook made some changes. One of them was around the use of Latinx vs Latino. Here are the changes:
“Latino is often the preferred noun or adjective for a person from, or whose ancestors were from, a Spanish-speaking land or culture or from Latin America. Latina is the feminine form. Some prefer the recently coined gender-neutral term Latinx, which should be confined to quotations, names of organizations or descriptions of individuals who request it and should be accompanied by a short explanation.”
In August 2020, we answered The Top 20 Questions on “Politically Correct” Terms [with Answers!]. One of these questions was about the politically correct way to say Latino. Latinx has gained popularity over the past few years.
What is Latinx?
Why Latinx? Latinx is a gender-neutral term used to replace Latino or Latina when referring to a person of Latin-American descent.
Last year during #HispanicHeritageMonth, Netflix posted a video on Instagram (see below) of some well-known Latin American TV stars tackling the debate of when to use Latino, Hispanic, Latino, and Latinx. Isabella Gomez from One Day At a Time, says:
“Latinx is an all-encompassing term” and “encompasses not only women and men, but also, all sexualities. There’s gender non-conforming, and it is a way for all of us to stand together, instead of separating us into genders or anything else.”
The Instagram video also explains the difference between Hispanic vs Latino.
The New York Times uses Latinx but has received some blowback, although some feel it is more inclusive. An article from 2018, Another Hot Take on the Term ‘Latinx’, highlighted some readers’ comments from Facebook and Twitter feeds after a journalist used “Latinx” in an article. Some of the comments said:
- Latinx just doesn’t translate to Spanish
- The term Latinx reads like a thousand nails in a thousand blackboards
- Latinx is partly a nod to the gender fluidity that existed among Natives before colonization
- Some had never even heard of it
Other publications like the San Francisco Chronicle and the Wall Street Journal are still using Latino vs Latinx, but Latinx is gaining momentum.
How to pronounce Latinx
“The most common way to pronounce Latinx is the same way you would Spanish-derived Latina or Latino but pronouncing the “x” as the name of the English letter X. So you get something like \luh-TEE-neks\.”
I also found a few other variations:
- la-teen-x is used in the YouTube video below explaining why Latinx is used for people who do not identify as male or female.
- 42% of people who did the Twitter poll below pronounce Latinx as Latin-x and a small percentage go with Lah-Tinks or “some other way”.
How do you pronounce "Latinx"?
— REMEZCLA (@REMEZCLA) January 31, 2018
Latine is an alternative to Latinx
A newer term, Latine, is being used as a replacement for Latinx in some circles.
A mini-comic on Latine vs Latinx, by Terry Blas, was mentioned in a 2019 blog called, This Comic Breaks Down Latinx vs. Latine for Those Who Want to Be Gender-Inclusive.
The blog says up until now most media outlets have opted for Latinx. But:
“The problem, many find, is that it’s difficult to pronounce Spanish words that have replaced gendered vowels with an “x.” For many, it’s easier to use the gender neutral “e” instead.”
Latinx vs Hispanic
While researching how to pronounce Latinx, I ran across a few other questions:
- Hispanic vs Latinx, which do people prefer?
- Is the word Hispanic offensive?
- Hispanic or Latinx?
- Latina or Latino?
- Latino and Lantina?
Since “Latinx” is still a somewhat new term, the numbers show that Hispanic and Latino Americans mostly prefer being described as “Hispanic” or “Latino/Latino” to “Latinx.”
“A 2020 Pew Research Center survey found that roughly three-quarters of U.S. Latinos were not aware of the term Latinx; of those who were, 33% said it should be used to describe their racial or ethnic group, while 65% said it should not.”source: Latinx, Wikipedia
So it would seem that using the term Hispanic is not offensive, depending on who you ask. Some people prefer Hispanic; others prefer Latino, Latina, or Latinx. It is always a best practice to ask people what they prefer to use.
WHY I WROTE THIS
Our mission here at Ongig is to transform your job descriptions to attract top-tier and diverse talent. Our Text Analyzer software analyzes every word of your job descriptions to ensure they are inclusive to everyone. We help you stay politically correct too!
- This Comic Breaks Down Latinx vs. Latine for Those Who Want to Be Gender-Inclusive (by Ecleen Luzmila Caraballo)
- “Latinx” is growing in popularity. I made a comic to help you understand why. (by Terry Blas)
- Hispanic and Latino ethnic categories (by Wikipedia)
- ‘Latinx’ explained: A history of the controversial word and how to pronounce it (by Adrianna Rodriguez)
- Latino, Latina, Latinx, and Hispanic. @chavelua breaks it all down. #HispanicHeritageMonth (by @Netflix on Instagram)
- ‘Latinx’ And Gender Inclusivity How do you pronounce this more inclusive word? (by Merriam-Webster)
- Why We Use ‘Latinx’: Fusion Spanish 101 (by FUSION)
- How do you pronounce Latinx? (@REMEZCLA)
- Another Hot Take on the Term ‘Latinx’ (by
- OPINION: Amigos or Amigas? The new trend for Amigues is taking over the continent (by Frances Jenner)
- Associated Press changes style on race, gender (by Joe Grimm)
- Latinx (by Cambridge Dictionary)