What is LatinX?

South America. Photo Couresty of Google Images.

By Esmeralda Trevino and Eva Ortez
Contributing Writers

Sewanee A.D.E.L.A.N.T.E. is an organization that promotes advocacy among minority students on campus. We strive to make permanent institutional changes that will expand diversity and raise awareness on important issues for the Latinx communities across the U.S.. This week, we will explore what the term “LatinX” and what it means to use in an increasingly inclusive community that is moving away from the gendered Spanish language.

LatinX is a relatively new term and often leaves people confused as to why the gendered  “Latino” or “Latina” isn’t used instead. This new term emerged as a gender-neutral alternative to Latino and Latina, even replacing Latin@. LatinX’s use is aimed at replacing gender binaries and cultivating inclusivity for the intersecting identities of Latin American descendants.

The use of this term is still in the process of receiving recognition. We asked around Sewanee’s campus for different opinions concerning the term, including if students knew of the label, what they thought it meant, and their thoughts on its use, placing preference to those who did not identify as Hispanic or LatinX.

Generally, most people knew what the term meant and its intended purpose. Niko Darby (C’18) voiced his approval, saying: “It is a big change to what we are used to. LatinX could lead a revolution in the Latin community, as in…classifying everyone, the collective of Latino people.”

Brandon Iracks Edelin (C’18) also commented on the term, stating that LatinX, in his views, is “an inclusive term to ensure both men and women are included. By using Latino or Latina, the differentiation can be exclusive. It’s an interesting term but he’s talked to people who have mixed opinions. Some say it’s bad..others say it’s not a big deal.” Brandon personally views LatinX’s impact as an overall positive change. “It reminds me of the Malcom X era, women would use women to get rid of the “men” in women.”

Collectively, many people are fine with the use of the term, expressing that it is not that big of a deal to use. LatinX’s use also extends to the LGBTQ community and the Hispanic and LatinX ethnic communities. The term uses a more intersectional approach to addressing people in an appropriate way, calling for more inclusion for both men and women in the conversation of gender in our traditionally gender-normed communities.

This change is important because it clarifies the term and growing use of LatinX in the Sewanee community and in hopefully addressing students of Latin descent.