The United States adopted the term Latino in the 2000 U.S. Census. The term Latino means Latin and was created to refer to people who are from Latin America. On the one hand, Latino serves as a homogenous label that groups people from Latin America or with an ancestry connected to Latin America. It has historically served as a way to organize and empower people who share similar cultural practices. On the other hand, it ignores how diverse Latinos are and it hides and erases the lived experiences of people who have distinct histories, cultures, migration experiences, and many other factors. The current term “Latinx” has been proposed as a genderless term to make language more inclusive for gender non-binary and/or transgender folk. This term is primarily used online and in social media and is being used in academic settings, but older generations and people living in Latin America do not seem to be receptive to this term, which has been explained by linguistics floodgates and a disrespect to Spanish. However, it is important to unmask and interrogate how the Latinx community adheres to a binary view of gender and sexuality and it how it contributes to the tensions and struggles among the several ethnic groups. Existing theories and notions of race have failed to understand and complicate how Latinxs have been racialized as a homogenous group without understanding the historical and political contexts of Latin America and its various countries.
Beautiful in Every Shade. 2014. 50 Shades of Latino.