I thought it was just me.
I know that sometimes things get lost in translation for me. I’m Dominican but I am one of these new age Latinos born and raised in New York City. I look Latino, love Spanish culture but I can’t speak Spanish. I can understand if you are talking about me and how to order food but that’s about it.
Imagine my shock when I saw the term “Latinx” for the first time.
“Who the hell came up with this” I thought.
At first I thought it was a joke but then I saw the term everywhere. It wasn’t until my Spanish speaking friends chimed in on social media about how confused they were that I realized I wasn’t alone.
First things first, who the hell came up with this? The term “Latinx” was created as a gender neutral alternative, a way to combine intersectionally identity politics of race and gender.
In other words, wypipo came up with this.
The problem with Latinx is that it imposes American ideologies on a very gendered language. Spanish is gendered in both the way that you speak and write it.
If I wanted to say “All the kids in the class are smart” in accordance to the gender neutral principles of Latinx, it would translate to “Todxs hijxs en claxe son inteligentxs”, or something like that. One, I can’t write in Latinx nor can I speak or read it. It feels like pig Latin, literally it makes no sense. Essentially what this forces Latino people to do is learn to read, write and understand their entire language differently so that people in America can feel good about gender politics.
Latino people didn’t even know this was a problem. Not once have I ever heard my family in the Dominican Republic complain about Spanish. Who knew this was an issue?
Now the term is being forced down our throats by people who don’t look like us or understand the culture in which we come from. It’s a blatant example of linguistic imperialism, it’s an offensive attempt at correcting a problem that doesn’t exist in Latin America or for Latinos in the United States, or anywhere.
Do advocates of this change have a way of teaching everyone’s abuelxs how to speak and write according to the gendered rules of “Latinx”? Are they going to go into countries like the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Mexico and explain to all the estudiantxs that our culture is wrong and we have to speak and write according to American gender politics? Who gave Americans the green light to gentrify a large part of Spanish culture, the language?
How come Americans aren’t doing this to the French or Italians? Why Latinos?
Latinos in America are not Latinx. Before America infringes on the pre-existing culture of Latinos everywhere, how about looking in your own backyard and dealing with race politics, the unproportional deaths of trans women, and the unequal distribution of wealth due to centuries of disenfranchisement and racism.
Surely America must have something better to do than mess with Latino people.
Then again, Donald Trump is our president.
And this is America.