‘Latinx’ is unnecessary


Getty Images

A map of Latin America countries represented by their flag. Senior columnist Angelina Padilla-Tompkins believes Latinx doesn’t accomplish what was it intended to.

By Angelina Padilla-Tompkins, Opinion Editor

The idea of gender is woven throughout the Spanish language, no matter how hard some might try, you cannot change an entire language just because it might offend someone. 

Nearly every word in Spanish is assigned a gender, male or female, depending on whether the word ends with an “O” or an “A.” 

For example, la luna (the moon) is considered female while un libro (a book) is considered male. 

Furthermore, “Latina” refers to females from Latin America and the Caribbean. “Latino” refers to males from the same countries. 

However, if one is referring to a group that included both males and females, then the speaker is to use the term “Latino.”

In an effort to be gender inclusive, the term “Latinx” was created, but only caused more controversy. 

“Latinx” became more well-known in the early 2000s among millennials and Gen Z, however, the majority of individuals don’t know or use the term. 

In fact, just 1 in 4 Latinos have even heard the term and only 3% use it, reported Pew Research

Luis Santos-Rivas, program director of NIU’s Latino Resource Center, points out that parents of many Latino students aren’t aware of the term. 

“There is a lot of controversy because there are many people that they don’t feel they identify with the term Latinx,” Santos-Rivas said. “For example, Latino families, they don’t understand. They don’t use it. So when you are in front of parents, you say Latinx and they don’t know what you’re talking about.” 

Santos-Rivas prefers not to use the term “Latinx” but will include it in mass emails for those who do prefer the term. 

“I use it when I have to send a massive email,” Santos-Rivas said. “When I have to send a massive email I use Latino, Latina, Latinx and Latine. I use all of them, so this way we are inclusive.” 

Additionally, “Latinx” goes directly against the Spanish language itself. Once you throw the “X” at the end of the word it is no longer Spanish; it is an American-generated term. 

“That is not Spanish. If we are going to start to change everything to the ‘X’ then, for example, familia (family) everybody will have to change to familx,” Santos-Rivas said. 

What many non-Spanish speakers don’t realize is that Spanish has its own gender-inclusive terms.  

For example, to refer to the president the speaker would say “presidente,” not “presidenta,” or “presidento.” If a speaker wanted to identify a gender they would say “Señor presidente,” or “Señora presidente.” 

“Spanish has their own inclusive language, you don’t have to put an ‘X’ at the end,” Santos-Rivas said.