I’m ‘Latinx’ But Wish I Wasn’t

I asked my friends and followers what they thought of the word — but had no idea how much dissent there would be

Omar L. Gallaga
LEVEL
Published in
7 min readJan 24, 2020

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Photo: Mike Kemp/Getty Images

I’d been curious about it for some time. So one slow Friday afternoon, I posted the same question to Twitter and Facebook: “What do you think of the term ‘Latinx?’”

No emotion. No indication of what I thought about the word. No judgment or provocation. (That would come later.) I’d actively avoided having an opinion on the word for seven or eight years, but now it was time to take folks’ temperature.

What I didn’t tell anyone until the comments began pouring in — 60 in the first hour on Facebook alone — was that I don’t really care for “Latinx.” And when I say that, I don’t mean that I actively dislike it; I think it’s striving to do a good thing. I mean that I haven’t cared for it one way or the other in the past decade as it’s become more commonly used.

Like so many other Latinos/Latinas — also previously known as “people of color” (or “Brown”), “Hispanic,” “Mexican American,” “Puerto Rican,” or other compound ethnicities and too many offensive terms we didn’t create — I have used ”Latinx” simply to go along with things. When it began appearing regularly on social media and meetup invites (“Latino Pachanga Night!” became “Latinx Totally Inclusive Pachanga Night If That’s Aight With You!”), I’d frown and move on. I wondered if I somehow missed a memo from the Council of Brown.

As someone who spends many hours a day dealing with words for a living, I found it was a word that bugged me, but I wasn’t sure why. I’m not crazy about a conflict that doesn’t involve me, so as that word rose, I avoided debates, research, or any real engagement on “Latinx.” I even began to use it. I didn’t want to offend anybody.

But that’s not the same as embracing it. Which I’ve learned. (Oh, how I’ve learned.)

I have a lot of journalist friends who pay close attention to when the winds are shifting…

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Omar L. Gallaga
LEVEL
Writer for

Tech culture writer and podcaster, now freelancing in Texas. Bylines: Washington Post, WSJ, CNN, NPR, Wired, Texas Monthly. Here for all your wordy needs.