I’ll be conversing with this article by Ed Morales @SpanglishKid
First: don’t call me Hispanic. Ever. Morales writes “The term Hispanic was an attempt to use identification with Spain to create another “whitened” European-American ethnic label.” As a Latiné I reject identifying with the colonization of my people by the Spanish.
The move away from Hispanic in the 1970’s prompted the arrival of Latino. Latin refers specifically to the Iberian peninsula, where both Portugal and Spain are located. While Hispanic refers specifically to Spaniard cultures, Latin invokes the idea of “mestizaje.”
It’s worth nothing here that Latinx is not a racial identifier. Whereas Black, White, Indigenous are markers of racial identity, Latinx is an ethnic identity. And therein lies the concept of mestizaje.
Mestizaje refers directly to the birth of an entirely new identity. The mixing of indigenous, Spanish, and black identities, often unconsensually, created what’s referred to as the “true melting pot” as opposed to the US’s “mixed salad.”
Tragic in origin, the blending of different cultures has gone on to create many beautiful symbols of resistance from the percussive Son Jarocho music of Veracruz, MX, to the black and indigenous origins of Cumbia in northern Colombia. Latinx peoples were never “conquered.”
I agree with Morales that “The arrival of Latinx coincides with a strong push for eliminating identifiers of gender in language,” but I choose not to embrace Latinx, specifically because of its lack of access to the Spanish speaker. Latinx only has context within the US. Latiné, and the substitution of the letter “e” for gendered words ending in “o” or “a”, Mexicané, Domincané, Africané. “represents a queering of Latino.”
I cannot communicate the entirety of my gender nonconforming identity to my mother using Latinx. Latinx does not address the inherent gendering of the Spanish language, and fails to acknowledge the queer identity in our native countries across Latin America.
I use Latiné over Latinx because as a native Spanish speaker, I need a way to identify that speaks to every identity I hold. I am unapologetically Queer, Non-binary, and Mexican. Thanks for reading y’all.