How to label individuals of a Hispanic or Latin background continues to be a thorny and controversial matter. While many non-Latin individuals feel the term “Latinx” is acceptable, a large number of those who would fall under that classification continue to resist its usage.
Carmen Sesin of NBC News reported that “a new poll of Hispanic voters finds the term ‘Latinx’ does not resonate among them and 40% say use of the word bothers or offends them.”
The poll also revealed another salient and detrimental finding when considering the rapidly growing demographic of Hispanic voters in the United States: 30% of Hispanic voters overall (or 24% of Democrats and 43% of Republicans) were less likely to support a politician or political organization that used Latinx.
According to Sesin, “the poll was conducted in mid-November by Bendixen & Amandi International, a Democratic firm focusing on Latino outreach. It found that 30% of Hispanic voters — 24% of Democrats and 43% of Republicans — are less likely to support a politician or political organization using the word.”
In an interview with NBC News, Fernand Amandi, the firm’s principal researcher, said of the 800 people his group polled, “the numbers strongly suggest that the use of this term may actually be counterproductive, as opposed to productive because only 2% of Hispanic voters nationally embrace the term.”
For those unfamiliar with the controversy, the term Latinx originally began as a “gender-neutral alternative” to Latino or Latina. “Latine” is another common gender-inclusive pronoun that conforms better to Spanish linguistics.
Pew Research has reported that while Latinx has gained a level of acceptance among young, progressive individuals, as well as some politicians, academics and corporations, the vast majority of the Hispanic/Latin population does not fully embrace the term.
“Around 57% of the voters surveyed in the new poll said they are not bothered by the word,” Sesin said. “When broken down by party affiliation, 60% of those who identify as Democrats said Latinx does not bother them, while 43% of Republicans say they are not bothered.”
On the flip side, Amandi said his research shows that “up to 40% are saying that this term either bothers or offends them, which in my mind suggests the potential costs outweigh the benefits.”
If Latinx is problematic, what does he suggest using instead? It appears “Hispanic” remains the term of choice for most Latinos and Latinas.
“A majority of voters — 68% — said ‘Hispanic’ is the term that comes closest to describing their ethnic background,” Sesin reported. “Around 21% chose the term ‘Latino,’ and only 2% said ‘Latinx’ is what best describes them.”
Amandi added that even when respondents were broken down into various age groups, all groups still preferred “Hispanic.” Seventy-one percent of individuals born in the U.S. and 61% born outside the country also favored Hispanic.
In 2020, researchers with the Pew Research Center reported similar findings. In their research, just 1 in 4 Hispanics had heard the term Latinx and only 3% of those surveyed actively used it.