A survey conducted by ThinkNow, a market research firm in Burbank, California, found that the term "Latinx" is the least preferred ethnic label among Hispanics in the United States. According to Mario Carrasco, the self- described "socially progressive" principal and co-founder of the firm who wrote a memo published on Friday, 98% of the country's 52 million inhabitants of Latin American ancestry do not identify with the term.
"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. When it came to "Latinx," there was near unanimity. Despite its usage by academics and cultural influencers, 98% of Latinos prefer other terms to describe their ethnicity. Only 2% of our respondents said the label accurately describes them, making it the least popular ethnic label among Latinos," said Carrasco.
What in tarnation is 'Latinx'?
Like other Romance languages, nouns in Spanish are grammatically gendered. Progressives argue we should substitute commonly used labels like Latino and Latina with 'Latinx' to make English and Spanish gender neutral and more inclusive of Latin women and individuals who are trans or non-binary.
Stony Brook University assistant professor Joseph M. Pierce explained to Oprah Magazine this year, the term "Latinx" can be traced to the 2000s among "activist circles primarily in the U.S. as an expansion of earlier gender-inclusive variations such as Latino/a (with the slash) and Latin@ (with the "at" sign)." He also noted, the use of 'x' as a suffix "does not imply a specific gender—as would the 'o' (masculine) or the 'a' (feminine) for nouns in Spanish—and is meant to disrupt the grammatical binary that is inherent in this Romance language."
However, it is unclear what led progressive activists to believe "Latinx" is necessary. Unlike Spanish, English is not grammatically gendered. Meanwhile, the plural noun "Latinos" is not gender-specific in either English or Spanish. Furthermore, according to a UCLA study, most transgender individuals identify as either male or female.
It's not a thing in real life
Beyond white liberals, social media, activists circles, university professors, and presumably Univision's Jorge Ramos, "Latinx" is not widely used. The ThinkNow study even found the term is not popular among the groups some thought would be the most receptive to it: Latin youth and women.
According, to the progressive pollsters who conducted the research, only 3% of millennials and women indicated they accept the label as an identifier. "Some have speculated that "Latinx" resonates with women and Latino youth. We found no evidence of this in our study." Adding, "97% of millennial and Gen-Z Latinos prefer to be called something other than 'Latinx.' Meanwhile, only 3% of women and 1% of men selected the term as their preferred ethnic identifier."
Hispanic, Latino or....?
Previous polls by Gallup and Pew show that most Latinos are generally fine with being called "Hispanic" or "Latino" and many just prefer to be identified by their country of origin or just "American." As Carrasco notes, "[m]arketers, journalists, and politicians who are unsure how to address such a diverse population should know that past studies have found that a majority of people do not have a strong preference between the 'Latino' and 'Hispanic' terms, though, as our own research confirmed, this does vary by age and region."
He adds: "Given the very small number of people who identify with the term, I would advise my colleagues across the various marketing, human resources, journalism and communication disciplines to avoid using 'Latinx' as a descriptor for all Latinos."
Based on this poll, that advice sounds muy bueno.