Reaching far beyond its usual advocacy for open borders, Univision has now seen fit to instruct its viewers as to why “Latinx” is a thing. Seriously.
Watch below as Jorge Ramos introduces his segment on Latinx on Univision’s weekly political affairs show Al Punto, before launching into an explainer vide:
JORGE RAMOS: Are you Latinx? Over the past few years, a new word has been gaining traction
Among young Latinos in the United States- Latinx. For some, it’s a symbol of inclusion. For others, (a symbol) of rebellion. For many, this is still a confusing issue, What does it mean, exactly, and who is Latinx? Miriam Arias tells us.
MIRIAM ARIAS, DIGITAL PRODUCER, UNIVISIÓN: Latinx. It is not a typographical error. It’s that relatively new word that we hear from celebrities, and even politicians in the United States. It is a term that rejects the gender binary system. For some, it’s no longer just about female or male, but about inclusion. The word already has 350,000 tags on Instagram.
Who can be Latinx? Men and women, heterosexuals, members of the LGBTQ community. Those who identify as nonbinary. This describes persons whose gender identity is not exclusively female or male. All persons coming from (with origins in) Latin America.
Several celebrities have decided to raise their children without gender stereotypes. When did (the term “Latinx”) begin to be used? In 2004. But, according to Google Trends, it gained traction in June 2016, the same month as the massacre (at) Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. It has also become a feininst issue. In English, both adjectives and plural pronouns are genderless. However, they are (gendered) in Spanish.
Why use the letter X? It’s seen as a political symbol, and as one of rebellion. The term’s influence continues to grow, (and is) being adopted by other groups. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary officially designated “Latinx”as a word. But the Royal Spanish Academy has not.
Segments like these, which seek to steer Univision’s audience to the social left, remind me of a conversation I had with a then-anchor for the network in 2012. When I asked him flat out whether there were other policy items on Univision’s agenda beyond immigration, his answer was, “well, immigration is first”.
So it is with “Latinx”. The key point to remember in the explainer above is its last sentence. Merriam-Webster, a dictionary of the English language, says it is a word, while the Royal Spanish Academy (Real Academia Española), the defining authority on the Spanish language, says it is not. This is an important part of the debate over whether Hispanics in the United States should be compelled to identify as a non-word variant of an umbrella term which was coined only in the latter half of the last century.
“Hispanic” and “Latino” are problematic and divisive enough, in that these terms have the invariable effect of shoving people from many different ethnic origins into a single brown box, for purely political purposes. Now, there’s “Latinx” to deal with, and Univision is all too content to push this term down the throats of its viewers. Be sure to file this one in the back of your heads for the next time that Ramos whines about how Hispanics are more conservative than expected.