It will take an act of Congress to replace the word “Hispanic.” Congress passed “Hispanic Heritage Week” in 1969 then promoted it to “Hispanic Heritage Month” in 1988. If you follow social media, it may appear that supporters of the term “Latinx” might be the first in line to replace the word “Hispanic.” I would love to think that we vote that hard.
But please don’t mistake this for a click bait essay that simply pits one identity term against another. I’m more interested in quantifying Community Cultural to Capital.
And I’ll begin by accelerating the discussion.
As I write this, there is not a Latinx Chamber of Commerce. However, there are many Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. In fact, I know our community members can be found everywhere. So, I’m not shocked to find out we are in Alaska or Kansas. However, I am still surprised to find out there are Hispanic Chambers of Commerce in towns I have never heard of.
That is the structural advantage of the term “Hispanic.” “Latinx” has to be explained. “Hispanic” has ads, business cards, and chambers of commerce arguing for it. This is also a powerful example of Capital vs. Cultural Capital.
This does not mean one is better than the other. In order to Accelerate Community Cultural Capital, we have to quantify it. We must then cultivate it. After that we can invest Community Cultural Capital into creating cultural change through specific policies.
This isn’t as easy as quantifying straight up capital, or cash. We have been raised to understand, and believe, and act on the idea that green paper shapes our world.
It does. Right now. But we have been bullied and rewarded into believing that. I saw this happen with plastic, and our young are seeing it happen with Crypto Coins.
So, let’s see it happen in our community with Community Cultural Capital.
Here is a first test.
There are currently no Latinx Chambers of Commerce.
Will there ever be? Should there ever be?
I am not going to insert or add links to the two sentence definitions of the terms “Hispanic” or “Latinx” that are all over the internet. We understand them profoundly—because we live them. Google them, read all of them, then ask some of us about them. That is a better way to understand those terms—and us. If in fact, you really want to understand us.
There are actually so many more labels that can be included. Next time I write about this I’ll add a third term.
This essay is about having a name imposed on us versus acting on the self-determination to choose our own identity. I want to draw comparisons in order to measure the Cultural Capital of different segments of our community.
The terms “Hispanic” and “Latinx” represent two vastly different generations of our Community. Are they at odds with each other? Perhaps grandchildren and grandparents might be at odds; however, they do not often cross paths and might polite to each other at weddings and funerals.
Proponents of “Latinx” are fighting for Cultural Capital. They do so by directly taking on the older identity labels. They have to in order to gain footing. The question becomes how.
If you dislike the term “Hispanic,” but you can’t make it stop, all you may have left to do is argue with the folks in your circle who use the term. Social media and independent media have become powerful platforms for proponents of the term “Latinx.”
Chambers of Commerce have become the safe havens of proponents of the term “Hispanic.”
Any Chamber of Commerce that exists quantifies a community’s buying power. That is not only acceptable that is encouraged so that the mainstream can figure out how much money to invest to convent us into customers.
Our Art, History, or Culture are not quantified in the same way or magnitude. Our intellect is not measured or even acknowledged in the same way.
In fact, Hispanic Chambers of Commerce have not been banned. Mexican American Studies was banned. The message seems to be that we are loved as consumers. We are feared as intellectuals.
So which term furthers our Community Cultural Capital?
My preferred term is the name that edifies us the most and changes the world.