• Sophie Yarin

    Associate Editor, BU Today; Managing Editor Bostonia

    Photo: Headshot of Sophie Yarin. A white woman with wavy brown hair and wearing a black dress and gold necklace, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

    Sophie Yarin is a BU Today associate editor and Bostonia managing editor. She graduated from Emerson College's journalism program and has experience in digital and print publications as a hybrid writer/editor. A lifelong fan of local art and music, she's constantly on the hunt for stories that shine light on Boston's unique creative communities. She lives in Jamaica Plain with her partner and their cats, Ringo and Xerxes, but she’s usually out getting iced coffee. Profile

Comments & Discussion

Boston University moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (EST) and can only accept comments written in English. Statistics or facts must include a citation or a link to the citation.

There are 51 comments on If Hispanics Hate the Term “Latinx,” Why Is It Still Used?

  1. As a Dominican-American, the last two paragraphs of this article stuck out to me. I agree with the majority 57% of people who replied “It doesn’t matter”, but I would also prefer if people took an interest into my specific culture and ethnic background rather than lumping my identity with other Latin American cultures that could be different from mine. All in all, I’m very interested in seeing the linguistic evolution of the term “Latinx” and see what new word or version we’ll be using 5 to 10 years from now as the author said.

    1. The issue is complex. How we as latinos/as taken an interest in the specific culture of Cambodia, Laos or Vietnam for example. I think any interest, however general, in latin culture as a whole is a step in the right direction.

    1. Exactly!!! You can be Hispanic and be from so many different countries but Latin folks come from Latin America!!!!

      Why do people outside the culture keep doing stuff like this and then wonder why we’re always fighting for OUR voices and OUR opinions to be heard

  2. As a Brazilian who speaks Portuguese, I have always felt misrepresented or short-changed by the terminology used in the United States Census and other surveys. Hispanic doesn’t apply because we speak Portuguese, Latino could apply but still carries a connotation that it represents Spanish speakers, etc. Oh well!

  3. I can claim several identities. However, I prefer to identify as a person. Why should I choose one identity over another? Identity is not about who my ancestors were, but who I am now.

  4. The American tendency towards racial taxonomy is frustrating. I come from the Adolph Reed Jr school of thought here. I treat it the way I treat pronouns: If you tell me what you would prefer to be referred to, I will always use it.

  5. This article is completely dismissive of *why* the Latino community doesn’t like “Latinx,” which is that it’s an Anglicizing of their language which has been foisted on them. Also, this article very carelessly conflates “Latino” and “Hispanic” as the same, which to many, they are not.

    1. I’d also like to add that latino/latina isn’t the only gendered word. If we don’t draw the line at Latinx, what’s next? Are we going to have profesorxs in our schools and doctorxs in our hospitals? They’re trying to change an entire language so that a very VERY small minority of people (who probably don’t even speak Spanish) feel included.

      1. Justin, I can’t help to think that it would be cool to have a bunch of mind reading Professor X’s in our school (X-Men reference in case my joke is missed). Not meant to digress from your point. But totally agree with what you are saying.

    2. I totally agree Sonny. Latinx is yet another instance of people not of my same culture deciding what my “label” is from Latin, Hispanic, Mexican-American,… Also, LatinX makes no grammatical sense in Spanish and a fundamental part of my identity is the Spanish language itself. While the term may originate from noble intentions and meant to be a term of inclusivity, in disregarding what the culture and root-language already was, it does the opposite. It originates from an English-speaking country that disregards how people from Latin American countries see themselves.

      1. While I respect your comment, could you please help me to understand then, why it is so easy for anyone whose skin is not white to lump all whites together? My a French father vacationed in Norway and met my mother. They married and moved to America, became citizens and built a family, of which I am their 2nd child. Norwegian culture is nothing like Greek culture or British culture or German culture. None of those countries are as close as Mexico is to Honduras…. Yet we have is supposedly acceptable to lump anyone with fair skin into one category, but somehow completely asinine to lump anyone from a South American country together? My parents spoke completely different languages from one another, and learned English together while waiting to become naturalized citizens of America. To begin differentiating between every individual lineage is to defy the entire concept that America is founded on. Melting pot.
        Please help me to comprehend how it is acceptable to lump everyone with white skin together then? You realize that French culture is nothing like Austrian culture, yes? Finish culture is nothing like Italian culture. Welsh is nothing like Swedish culture.
        My family did not come to America on the Mayflower. My family was not here during periods of legal enslavement. My family was born into and raised of two vastly different cultures and lived in countries with vastly different governments. Should we now begin to list each and every ancestral region for every American?

    3. I really think this is virtue signaling on the part of the institutions. They don’t care about much more than enrolling students to keep that sweet federal loan money coming their way.

      1. A minority of liberal white intellectuals are feeling better about themselves because they’re changing the language and pushing terms in people that they neither wanted nor asked for. The term Latinx is an abomination, and one wonders when this will stop. I think what bothers them if that you have to use « Latinos » when referring to a group, and that’s, tou know, misogynistic . I will continue to use Latino and Latina until the day I die, I really do not care about these people. They know nothing about the culture yet feel they know better what’s right for them. Sick of these people.

  6. If the Hispanic vs. Latino vs. Latinx poll numbers were closer, I would understand questions on the accuracy of the poll. But when you’ve only got 3% of respondents to the Pew poll actually using the term and three-quarters that haven’t heard of it, those aren’t numbers that can be easily ignored.

    This article implies that “Latinx” is widely used among college students, but the Pew poll says that even among ages 18-29, only 42% have heard of the term and just 7% use it.

    It feels like the article is choosing to ignore the data because it didn’t produce the result the author / publication wanted.

  7. Some reasonable points in this article. It seems this categorization has only left us all more divided. I now refuse to respond to form questions regarding RACE (I write “human”) or ETHNICITY. And I will not let anyone call me “black”, Or “white” or red or yellow or whatever.
    “I pray that they may all be one.” John 17:21

  8. This article is pushing an American agenda onto Latinos everywhere, choosing to ignore the data that despite the vast majority of Latinos not knowing the term or using it is “gaining popularity.” I was born in Latin America, grew up around Latino immigrants and descendants from a plethora of countries across multiple generations, and no one uses latinx or latine or any of those things. No one has heard about the terms unless they are very young and active on social media and, even then, they don’t identify as it.

    The article was ended with a foreshadowing of “what’s going to happen to the terminology in the future?” I can honestly say I don’t know but I am confident it will not be Latinos coming up with nor pushing nor caring for the terminology.

  9. It’s good to remember too that there are tons of people with Latin American and Spanish heritage who live in the US and have for a very long time—for example, the New Mexico/southern Colorado population has lived there for several hundred years and is a beautiful mix of cultures native to the region and Spain. The term Latino/a/x isn’t thrown around a lot, though; hispanic is more common. The label Spanish is also used a lot, which is not a negative thing necessarily if that’s what is preferred by the people in question. It just comes down to the group or the person. It’s simultaneously an incredibly nuanced conversation and not of great importance to many people.

    1. Valid point. The same can be said of Americans who descend from European countries. My lineage is Norwegian and French. I am a first generation American. To differentiate between people from the plethora of native Spanish speakers, or some dialect of Spanish, would mean we should also differentiate between Americans who descend from European countries. When does it end? And how will we continue to be a melting pot if we continue to separate everyone? I am proud to descend from a Frenchman and a Norwegian woman, and I love mixing the cultures of my parents with the cultures of my many Greek, Mexican, Jamaican, Vietnamese and so on and so forth friends.

  10. Why can’t we say Brazilian-Americans, Peruvian-Americans just as we say Irish-Americans and Italian-Americans. For people whose heritage in the current United States is long, lets just say Americans. We all have a complex history and descend from immigrants. I am a “mongrel” that could only exist in the Americas, but my ancestors happily landed in the USA.

    1. American is everyone that’s from the American continent. It was named America in honor of Amerigo Vespucc in 1507 in honor of Amerigo Vespucci by Waldseemuller and Ringmann. Neither writing the name America in plural “Americas” nor decorating the name America with the regional adjectives “North” and “South” supplants what’s genuinely America and American. United States is of America not itself America. U.S. Americans are neither the first nor only Americans. Get yourself a better education. Perhaps you would not be so simpleminded.

      1. Let me help you with your grammar, since you like to tell people to “get a better education”.

        “American” is everyone that’s from one of the American continents. In 1507, they were named “America” in honor of Amerigo Vespucci by Waldseemuller and Ringmann. Neither writing the name “America” as the plural “Americas” nor decorating the name “America” with the regional adjectives “North” and “South” supplant what’s genuinely “America” and “American”. The United States is “of America” not “America” itself. U.S. Americans are neither the first nor only Americans; get yourself a better education; perhaps you would not be so simpleminded.

        Let me know if you need an 8th grade English class; good thing you attack others’ levels of education, though!

  11. This ‘debate’ is hysterical mainly because it’s an ‘issue’ that’s being championed in the name of a group of people who really don’t care about it that much. It’s pushing American political correctness where it’s neither wanted nor needed and just makes everyone involved in this look dumber than they already are.

  12. What’s wrong with “human?” There is no biological basis for race. We perpetuate such a notion specifically for the purpose of discrimination.

    1. Exactly my thinking. Whenever I’m asked race, I check off “other” and enter in human. Been doing this since as long as I can remember.

      Btw, my dad is from Cuba and my mom from Italy, and I was born in the US, so I find it silly to choose hispanic…or whatever the spanish options is, as if one race is dominant over another. I think I got into a little argument with someone who asked me once for a questionnaire and made that point.

      Plus I can trace my great grandparents to Spain…and actually still have extended family living there.

      And when I think Latin, I think ancient Rome, which since it’s in Italy, then why aren’t Italians considered latin? Or any other of the Romantic languages derived from it.

      1. Because latin(usualy, atleast in the us, and when refering to ppl) is short for latin american, in a technical sense, yes all romance speakers are “latin” but in the US its mainly for latin amernicans( which is gender neutral)

  13. “Latinx” is used by people who suffer from being woke. It’s just stupid. The Spanish language uses genders. Some dumb American isn’t going to change that.

    1. I am neutral on using the word Latinx. If the people identified by this word don’t like it, the polite thing to do would be to stop using it.

      I do take exception to bring the word “woke” into the argument. Many people are woke and proud of it. Woke means you are awake and aware of your surroundings and what is going on. Woke is a good thing.

      Why one political party chose to vilify woke, i am not certain. Perhaps it’s because a woke person tends to think for themselves. They would never follow a politician who tells their base to not believe what they see and hear, only what they are told.

      1. There’s no reason for a gender-neutral X in Spanish. The O is already male or neutral. If I say a group of children, “Niños”, I’m not saying all of them are male, as the neutral O is used.

  14. The word “Latino” in Spanish doesn’t just describe a man; this is foolish thinking. We refer to a very diverse people group that shares a common mestizo/european heritage united in a common language (or, in the case of Brazil and Haiti, similar language). The word Latina could also be used to describe the community as a whole as in “la comunidad latina.”

    The reality, for better or worse, is that having a common language is the unifying thread that unites all these cultures. Once our American descendants begin to forget our language, they should be referred to as simply Americans, possibly of Latino or other descent, but Americans nonetheless.

    We tend to emphasize what separates us rather than what unites us and should stop placing artificial barriers between us. We are all humans and made in the image of God.

    1. The translation of Latino is Latin and the people from Latin America are called Latin Americans. This is a false issue created by activists in order to push changes in the Spanish language (even when they do not speak Spanish and most of them are Anglos), because there is an English translation for Latino.

  15. Ok, as an Argentinian I’m going to say STOP to take words from our language and deforming them, respect our language. Using the @ to express both o and a wasn’t a thing happening at least in Latin America based on gender neutrality, it simply was to abbreviate the actual grammatical form to express both words at the same time “o/a”. Also I’m sick of seeing gringos claiming to be latinos when they were born and raised in U.S. Being descendant doesn’t make you what your parents are, I’m Italian descendant and not for that I’m pretending to be Italian. Another thing, latino and hispanic are not races so stop with that as well. If it were a race all of us would be looking the same, not to mention Europeans are also latinos not just Latin Americans. Since you’re speaking English you should say Latin not latino, latina, latinx, latin@ or whatever deformed word you can come uo with. Literally no one uses that word so why should you? You want inclusion of those descendants in U.S? Stop treating them as immigrants and just refer to them as Americans and nothing more because is what they are. Do you all believe in Latin America we are constantly calling ourselves latino/a or hispano/a? No we don’t, we just say our nationality if needed (and that would only be the country we were born in not our ancestors nationality taking it as our own as if it were a race) just stop talking in our name when you’re not us. The only result you get is offending people.

  16. Latino means Latin in English, the people the people from Latin America are called Latin Americans. There is no region called Latinx America: Africa- Africans, Europe – Europeans, America – Americans, Canada – Canadians, Latin America – Latin Americans, etc.

  17. Another attempt at anglo cultural and linguistic imperialism on latinos. This is not new. There has been a general disrespect for our culture and this is just one more example of it.

  18. @SophieYarin Is there something we can do as BU alumni to persuade BU to discontinue the use of the term “Latinx” in its official style guide?

  19. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, the only people who use the term Latinx are Latinos raised in the US or western-media colonized college students and professors. It is very ironic that the people who are against “colonization” are the first to use language that stems from Liberal American Culture. Language is the biggest determinant of culture, the people who push the term Latinx actually hate Hispanic or Latino culture, so they want to change it. Simple as that.

  20. People need to stop complaining and just get on with it. No term is perfect. This idea of “colonists” choosing the terminology-give me a break. You dont think “white” is a broad term? Russians, Germans, Italians, Norwegians, Polish etc etc in America and abroad are all categorized the same way and they dont even speak the same languages. Are they whining? Get over yourself. Any little reason to play the victim and pull the race card.

    1. Maybe in the U.S. they use a broad “white” term for everyone that’s not a “racial minority”, but not in latin america… you’ll be referred to as aleman, portugues, ruso, italiano… not “blanco” that’s a super weird American thing and just goes to show another way in which U.S. culture is just thoughtlessly applied to everyone else outside of the U.S. Just because it’s done here does not mean it’s done everywhere else.

  21. I agree to a degree. First I found there was no need for change.
    It’s somewhat crazy how most these days is shaped to match the mind and not the physical reality.
    “Latino”/ “Latina” works.
    Now, for those who -Do Not- identify as X or Y, of course.
    Who am I to prevent anyone from having a space of inclusivity or belonging?
    I strongly dislike impositions. With that said, I will NEVER identify myself as Latinx.
    Feels like a gang of superheroes is being summoned when said out-loud.
    More so, if I ever see Latinx in any of my documents I will start a movement.

    No offense to anyone. I wont force my opinion on anyone (just sharing).
    Nobody will force their opinion on me or my 20/20 views of the physical world.

  22. Do NOT call me LatinX. I don’t about this article and the wokeness rationalizations. I am not a gender neutral person. I am a WOMAN. I am a Latina. I don’t even mind being called Hispanic which is what we used to be called. STOP this craziness.

  23. I am a genderqueer latina, and prefer the term Latinx or my true identity as Chicanx or Chican@. you may not speak on my behalf as to whether or not my identity as a queer person with a nuanced ethnic identity that best defines my experience is valid or not. you may be called what you want. but we are brown, we are not hispanic. Do not ever call me hispanic. I am not from Spain. my family immigrated from Mexico. We are Latine, and I am also American. You cannot take away the solace I have found in my racial identity away from me, it is not your place. There seems to be a lot of criticisms surrounding the western ‘branding’ of these terms, but the criticism neglects to acknowledge that there are people within the US and other western nations such as myself that still… have an ethnicity? News Flash! Race, ethnicity, and nationality are different things. Being American does not make me white, and I am not afforded the same privilege that white Americans are, as people of color are SYSTEMICALLY OPPRESSED in the United States. We deserve to be recognized for all that makes us. You, especially if you are WHITE, cannot take that away from us. I will not sit here and read your hate speech.

  24. I am Chicano. I don’t mind being called Hispanic or Latino, but I don’t like being called Latinx and I hope it doesn’t catch on, I have never heard anybody refer to themselves as Latinx.

  25. The subtext in this whole thing is, “Here in the US we have a standard, and so long as you’re language is spoken here it will be spoken in a way that conforms to said standards. This is because we are respectful of all cultures and identities.”
    It is near paradoxical in it’s logic.

  26. All the people born in America (the continent) are Americans . No matter if you were born in Cabo de Hornos or Alaska.

  27. Funny. you know why Latinos put in such big number the “it does not matter” option? is something very obvious for us that most white or black people would get if you understand the culture of those living in USA.

    We Latinos come here to blend into North American culture, work hard and stay low. “it does not matter” is a great example of our mentality. We are busy working we don’t have time to focus much in unimportant things.

    Latinx is an insult and we can’t wait until all this woke agenda finish crumbling down.

Comments are closed.