Martin Center: Why UNC Should Abandon the Term ‘LatinX’

CHAPEL HILL – ‘Latin what?’ you might ask. LatinX, is a woke term invented by social justice warriors to de-gender the masculine and feminine forms, ‘Latina’ and ‘Latino.’

It’s unacceptable to call a Latin male a ‘Latino,’ or female a ‘Latina,’ because, of course, assuming and assigning a binary gender to a person of whom you’re speaking is a major violation of the Left’s gender dogma.

As one of the wokest universities around, UNC Chapel Hill has embraced the term and is even naming a new Hispanic student center the “UNC Carolina Latinx Center” to prove their mettle. Except, as Shannon Watkins of the James G. Martin Center for Higher Education points out, no one really prefers this term. As in, the LatinX community do not refer to themselves as LatinX.

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Watkins argues, “Universities should refuse to endorse this incoherent ideology and discard the term “Latinx” altogether.” Learn why below.

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From the James G. Martin Center:

“By now, most people who’ve attended a wealthy college—or those who tuned into the Democratic presidential debates—have likely heard or seen the word “Latinx.” The anglicized Spanish term is the latest attempt of gender activists to impose their perverse ideology on the rest of the culture—and on Spanish speakers in particular.

What is so significant about adding the letter “x” to the word “Latino?” To activists, it solves a confounding problem: There is no “gender-neutral” way to refer to individuals in the Spanish language. Someone, for example, may be described as a “Latino” writer (if a man) or a “Latina” writer (if a woman), but there is no phrasing for those who don’t consider themselves male or female.

But in the early 2000s, activists came up with a solution: Replace the “o” in masculine words like “Latino” and the “a” in feminine words like “Latina” with a gender-neutral “x” to create the inclusive term “Latinx.”

For a while, “Latinx” remained a niche term secluded to small circles of academics and activists. But not for long. Around 2014, eager to appear “inclusive,” colleges and universities started to adopt the term.

As a result, institutions such as Harvard UniversityYale UniversityNew York University, and the University of Florida began to relabel. For example, “Hispanic heritage month” became “Latinx heritage month,” and  “Latino Studies” was changed to “Latinx studies.”

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is no exception to this trend. Although UNC-Chapel Hill administrators and faculty have used the term for the last few years, the label “Latinx” gained a new level of formal recognition in October when the university officially established the Carolina “Latinx” Center.

For over a decade, students and activists have been pressuring the university to create a center dedicated to Latino students. In 2009, a university task force established a “Carolina Latina/o Collaborative,” which was the first step in an effort to create a “full-fledged” center.

In 2016, UNC-Chapel Hill students conducted a protest demanding that a “Latinx” center be established on campus, arguing that the three seminar rooms and residence hall dedicated to “Latinx” students was not enough space.

That same year, the UNC Centers and Institutes Review Committee approved a proposal for the creation of a “UNC Carolina Latinx Center.” In turn, UNC Provost Jim Dean approved the recommendation and recommended that chancellor Carol Folt and the Board of Trustees give the center final approval.

The project was shelved for several years until finally, before her abrupt departure  in January 2019, Folt granted final approval for a “Latinx” center to be established on campus. The center officially opened on October 4, 2019 with UNC’s current chancellor, Kevin Guskiewicz, presiding over the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Of the sixteen UNC universities, Chapel Hill and the four following UNC institutions use the word “Latinx” in an official capacity:

Given the growing popularity of “Latinx,” it is likely only a matter of time until the remaining UNC schools follow. Nevertheless, they should resist jumping on the bandwagon, and the institutions that have already adopted the confused term should swiftly abandon it, for several reasons. 

For one, according to a 2019 study by a progressive-leaning marketing firm, the overwhelming majority of Hispanics in the United States do not want to be referred to as “Latinx.” According to Mario Carrasco, co-owner of the firm ThinkNow Research, “98 percent of Latinos prefer other terms to describe their ethnicity.” While Carrasco describes himself and his colleagues as “progressive on social issues,” they put their biases aside in order to get an accurate grasp of what terms people prefer. Carrasco details how he and his team conducted the study:

To examine the acceptance of “Latinx” our firm conducted a nationwide poll of Latinos using a 508-person sample that is demographically representative of Census figures, yielding a ± 5% margin of error with a 95% confidence interval. We presented our respondents with seven of the most common terms used to describe Latinos and asked them to select the one that best describes them.

The researchers found that 44 percent of respondents prefer the term “Hispanic” while 24 percent preferred “Latino/Latina.” Only 2 percent said they prefer the term “Latinx.” […]

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