What is Latinx, how is it defined and why has there been push back against term?

More people are choosing to identify as Latinx

In the case of Hispanics and Latinos, there’s a term that continues to bring up a lot of discussion: Latinx.
In the case of Hispanics and Latinos, there’s a term that continues to bring up a lot of discussion: Latinx.

SAN ANTONIO – Many times, language is reflective of culture and culture is always changing due to societal norms. The evolution affects the way people speak and in some cases, how they identify.

In the case of Hispanics and Latinos, there’s a term that continues to bring up a lot of discussion: Latinx.

It’s a fairly new term that is gaining popularity, especially among younger generations. Latinx is also a term that has received a lot of push back.

Dr. Lori Rodríguez, an associate professor of humanities and the coordinator for the Mexican-American studies program at Palo Alto College, said the pushback often times is due to misconceptions.

“It really is about exposure and familiarity,” Rodríguez said. “The term Hispanic, right, has been used for several generations now, and I think that (Latinx is not used by older generations) because (the term Hispanic is) so normalized in the educational system, government forms and different institutions.”

KSAT News Now Q&A with Dr. Rodriguez: What is Latinx, how is it defined and why has there been push back against term?

Rodríguez explained Latinx is a term rooted in the Spanish-language term Latino Americanos, which refers to people who are descendants from Latin American countries.

According to Rodríguez, a popular misconception is that the term defines a person’s sexual orientation, however that’s not true. So, what’s the letter X stand for?

“The X is gender neutral, so, it removes the masculine O and the feminine A, and it just removes any kind of gender identifier,” Rodríguez said. “Also, we have younger people that are understanding and identifying more with this gender non-binary identity or at least learning how to be respectful of it.”

Rodríguez said it’s important for each person to do their own research to learn about the variety of self-identifying terms and not just conform to what box has to be checked on forms.

There’s always an “other” option to write-in whatever term a person chooses to identify as, including on the U.S. Census.

((THIS STORY IS PART OF KSAT NEWS NOW, OUR NEW DIGITAL SHOW THAT STREAMS LIVE AT 11 A.M. DR. RODRIGUEZ SHARES MORE ON LATINX. WATCH KSAT NEWS NOW BELOW.))


About the Authors:

Alicia Barrera is a KSAT 12 News reporter and anchor. She is also a co-host of the streaming show KSAT News Now. Alicia is a first-generation Mexican-American, fluent in both Spanish and English with a bachelor's degree from Our Lady of the Lake University. She enjoys reading books, traveling solo across Mexico and spending time with family.

RJ Marquez has been at KSAT since 2010. He's covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area, and is the lead reporter for KSAT Explains. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms. You can see RJ regularly on KSAT Explains and Good Morning San Antonio. He also writes a weekly Spurs newsletter.