Letters to the Editor: Why the Spanish languages makes it so hard for Latinx to catch on

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), seen speaking at a news conference in 2018
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) has criticized use of of the word “Latinx” instead of Latino.
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

To the editor: No matter who is promoting the use of Latinx, it is unlikely to become widely accepted in the long term. There is good reason for the general lack of awareness of the term and for resistance to its adoption, especially among native speakers of Spanish.

The push to use Latinx is apparently due to the false assumption that the “o” in Latino denotes exclusively masculine gender. It does not.

Depending on context, it may refer to males or to any and all people described. In the same way that los Mexicanos does not refer only to male Mexicans, or that los ricos does not refer only to male rich people, Latinos can refer to people of any gender.

Nouns have gender in Spanish, but they do not always reflect the gender of the people they may refer to. Individuo is always a masculine noun, even if it refers to a female individual. Persona is always a feminine noun, even if it refers to a male person.

It is virtually impossible to impose language use. Words and rules evolve within the community of speakers. Time will tell if speakers generally adopt Latinx, but we doubt it.


Ronald M. Harmon and María R. Montaño-Harmon, Brea

Harmon is a professor emeritus of Spanish and Portuguese at Cal State Fullerton, where Montaño-Harmon is an associate professor emeritus of secondary education.


To the editor: I appreciate columnist Jean Guerrero’s opinion regarding the term Latinx, but I disagree with it.

Guerrero disputes the common criticism that the term was created by “woke” whites, but I can easily tell her that it was most definitely not created in the barrio, where most of la gente reside, nor was it created in any Latin American country.

Spanish, the language that helps us Latinos keep our customs, culture, ideas and relationships alive in an increasingly English-dominant world, is a gendered language. We identify as Latinos, celebrate la cultura Mexicana and pay homage to la patria that stretches from Tijuana to Patagonia. We listen to la radio, go to el cine, wake up in la mañana and party at las fiestas.

At a time when we like to celebrate diversity, the Spanish language already has diverse terms built in for gender, and as a result helps foster the compassionate, colorful future that we all want to have. We Latinos and Latinas are here to pave the way.

Robert Gutierrez, Alhambra