I found the Nov. 18 Quiptide column strange and tone-deaf in its discussion about the word “Latinx.” I agree with the point that there is a need for a singular gender-neutral pronoun, but, in pursuit of this point, Louie Castoria decided to insensitively pick “Latinx” apart. I don’t think it’s funny to compare a term that a group has created to better represent themselves to “Kleenex” or “FedEx.”
I get frustrated when speaking Spanish that the plural for mixed genders defaults to masculine. I can only imagine the frustration of growing up in a country with this language and system of gender identification, especially if someone doesn’t identify in the gender binary or as their assigned sex.
The Pew survey Castoria cites is interesting, though not a reason to invalidate “Latinx.” Numbers are not the most important factor, especially since this is a relatively new term.
Latin America is indeed a somewhat vague term, but it does definitively refer to places in America that were colonized by European countries with Romance languages. If Castoria would like something more specific, I suggest looking into Chicanx, which relates specifically to Mexican Americans. Maybe it will help anyone with any qualms about the word Latin to re-focus on the main point, which is gender-neutrality. Either way, I’m glad that he admitted to being a curmudgeon, because his analysis of “Latinx” is the definition of pedantic.
I accept that Castoria means no offense, but that doesn’t actually lessen any offense he may have caused. Playing devil’s advocate about real people’s lives has real consequences. It is not our job, and especially not our right, to be picky about how a group of people go about choosing a term to more inclusively represent themselves and their community.
Half Moon Bay