Sometime around 2016, the word “Latinx” popped onto the linguistic radar. The term is a new way to identify the Hispanic ethnic group: not Latina, not Latino, but Latinx, a gender neutral word designed to include everyone of every identity.
Almost instantaneously, “Latinx” was adopted by mainstream culture. Celebrities, advertisers, activists, corporations, and universities all hopped on board with the cutting-edge politically correct lingo.
Personally, I’m all for referring to someone as they’d reasonably like me to for the sake of respect. I recognize that occasionally a term in popular circulation is antiquated. I have no problem adjusting when I see it necessary. Language is fluid, after all.
But, amid the constant influx of novel politically correct terminology like “Latinx,” the clamor to adopt the proper newspeak has been rash and ill-considered. It’s as though nobody has stopped to ask: Am I representing this group in accordance with their wishes?
A new poll of Hispanic Americans conducted by Gallup in June of this year suggests otherwise—and resoundingly so. Twenty-three percent reported a preference for being called Hispanic and 15 percent for Latino. And, despite the rush to adopt “Latinx,” just 4 percent favor the term.
The remaining 57 percent say it does not matter how you refer to them. Findings were similar in the black American community, with 58 percent reporting no preference for any particular terminology. The message is clear: Nobody cares about your linguistic gymnastics.
Nonetheless, our culture continues to flock to faddish newspeak at a dizzying rate. The word women has been eradicated in favor of womxn, LGBT has evolved into LGBTTQQIAAP (or longer by some estimations), and the phrase BIPOC seemingly appeared out of thin air in recent months.
The remarkable irony of it all? The very minority groups who are the supposed beneficiaries of such speech do not actually feel served by it. Non-minorities speaking on their behalf seem to be more offended and outraged than the supposed victims. They are most often the ones enforcing new linguistic rules and chastising those unfamiliar with the latest terms.
They’ve entirely lost touch. There’s a remarkable disconnect between the theorists that believe their linguistic adjustments somehow affect social change and the theorized groups entirely unaffected by, if not patronized by, such futile activism.
Throwing around words like “Latinx” to prove your virtuosity at fancy dinner parties carries an air of elitism. It’s a luxury to be more preoccupied with your PC aptitude than the underlying systemic issues that affect the groups for whom you purport to speak.
If the Gallup poll reveals anything, it’s this: linguistic gymnastics is just self-serving virtue signaling. These PC terms are merely a means to make the speaker feel more enlightened. Our culture, therefore, should question the rush to faddish, performative lingo. We must instead champion action that will affect actual and meaningful change.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.