USA Today published an article about the term “LatinX” this past weekend. You should read the article yourself, but it essentially blasts the term as a progressive-led assault on the Spanish language itself. The article initially resonated with me and I decided to post it on FB on Friday to see what others thought. Once the comments started coming it, it was clear that many agreed with me. As a liberal, I am quick to point out how progressives can go overboard with political correctness and ultimately repel people they should be attracting. However, the best comment I received was from LatinX filmmaker Danny Hastings. Among other things, Danny runs one of the largest film festivals that showcase LatinX filmmakers. He likes the term LatinX because in his view, it has galvanized our youth in a way that no other label, including “Latino”, ever did. The USA Today opinion story argues that the term LatinX is a creation of Anglo progressives and did not originate from within the Latino community. Danny’s argument is that “Latino” is rarely used anywhere outside the United States anyway – so who cares? Everywhere outside the U.S., they consider themselves Mexican, Puerto Rican, El Salvadoran…etc. – based on national origin, but almost never “Latino”. He says the focus on national origin creates divisions, and it’s hard to change that mindset even when they migrate to the States. To make it even more complicated, some U.S.-born Latinos prefer to be called Hispanic, some prefer Latino, some stick to their national origin label, and yet others avoid any of the terms altogether – all contributing to a more fragmented community. However, as a filmmaker he works with a lot of millennials and younger Latinos – and he says they have gravitated to “LatinX”. They’ve embraced the term because they view it as cool and more inclusive. He says it has rallied Latinos (LatinX) under one tent, in a way almost nothing else has. As someone who understands that as a community we are stronger when we focus on our similarities rather than our differences, I appreciated Danny’s comments and am now sold on the term LatinX. BTW – Danny’s film festival begins on Halloween and runs through November 2nd in Palm Desert. NAHREP is a sponsor and all NAHREP members are free to attend. For more information visit the Official Latino festival website.
We hear frequently how Latinos are not a monolithic community. In other words, we are not all the same. We come from different countries, have a variety of political views, and even eat different foods. I get all of that, but I also think focusing constantly on our differences versus our similarities undermines our political and economic power as a community...
This might be my most provocative blog in a while. Let me first state that I am happily married to a beautiful gringa. My kids are half- White and some of my best friends throughout my life have been White, so don’t let the title of this blog throw you.
A few weeks ago, Twitter was blowing up when John Leguizamo spoke out against the recent casting of James Franco as Fidel Castro in the independent film ‘Alina of Cuba’. Leguizamo took plenty of heat for his stance and was ridiculed by some including Bill Maher.