#LatinoRebels10: From 2015, About the Use of LATINX

May 7, 2021
5:24 PM

Illustration by Alex Charner

For this third installment of #LatinoRebels10 in celebration of Latino Rebels’ 10th anniversary, we look back to a piece in 2015 that continues to drive the discussion about the use of LATINX. For more installments, click here.

Over the years, Latino Rebels has published several opinion pieces in response to issues surrounding our community.

On December 5, 2015, an opinion essay by María R. Scharrón-del Río and Alan A. Aja titled, “The Case FOR ‘Latinx’: Why Intersectionality Is Not a Choice,” struck a nerve—one of the strongest nerves ever struck on this site, and that says something coming from a site that has struck a lot of nerves.

This essay was in response to an earlier 2015 piece from Swarthmore College against the use of the term.

Little did anyone know that the debate would get passionate and contentious. But that is what happened, even as Scharrón-del Río and Aja acknowledged several times that their essay needed to get written, and over the last six years, it has been cited across many academic papers and links that we have lost count of where it is still cited.

The same can be said of the response that former Latino Rebels deputy editor Hector Luis Alamo wrote one week on December 12, 2015. To this day, Hector tells us he gets invited to talk about this essay.

The X-ing of Language: The Case AGAINST ‘Latinx’

Within a few weeks in early 2016, the debate was on NPR (thanks to our founder, who worked at Latino USA):

Still, the debate took off after all this, and in the interest of being in the center of it, Latino Rebels has published several opinion pieces and stories that argue for its usage and against it. Back in 2015 and 2016, we thought that the conclusions were already settled—yet due to online discussions and even political motives by conservative voices, the never-ending debate continues.

What is our own editorial take about the use of LATINX?

We let our 600+ contributors decide whether they want to use the term or not. As much as some people will think no decision is the right one, it is has worked for us because it lets our contributors own their voices, without having editors like us dictate what they should write and what labels they should use. Self-identity is personal and we will always respect that. If only others felt the same, especially fellow Latinos. (For those counting: we have used the word LATINX in 465 stories and we have published over 10,400 stories since 2011.)

Anyway, here are some of the pieces about LATINX that we have published on this site:

Who Gives a Shit If the Majority of Hispanics Don’t Know or Use Latinx (OPINION)

‘X-ing’ Out Dissent With LATINX: The Danger of Unexamined Political Maneuvering

‘Latinx’ and the History of Shifting Terms (OPINION)

Why I Chose to Not Be Latinx

No Shock or Awe About ‘Acting’ Latinx

Why Are We Still Having a Manufactured Debate About LATINX?

Pew Study: 23% of US Latinos Aware of LATINX Term, but Just 3% Use Term

The debate has even included a U.S. Senator:

During His Bill Maher Interview Friday Night, Here’s What Sen. Alex Padilla Said About the Use of LATINX

So forgive us if we feel this debate has been recycled and recycled over and over again:

Pero seguimos. We keep at it.