Hispanic, Latino or Latinx?
This week I want to focus on the Latinx debate because of this opinion piece by Daniel Hernandez from this weekend’s Los Angeles Times and titled “The case against ‘Latinx’”. The piece has led to some interesting debates on twitter. This may be a new term for some, and there may be confusion in how, when or if to use it.
I find this debate fascinating for many reasons. You see for years I’ve been asked what term organizations should use – Hispanic or Latino. Let’s look at the history of the term Hispanic which was chosen by the U.S. government as the official term in the 70s, read more on the history here. Some disliked the term Hispanic but others did not connect to the word Latino. In 2002 Pew issued a report that showed how many Latinos identified more with their country of origin than to those terms. Here is this from CNN in 2004. Two national organizations use Latino or Latin American in their names – National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and League of United Latin American Citizens. The National Council of La Raza changed its name this year to Unidos US and NSHMBA changed its name to Prospanica. There is also MALDEF, which serves all Latinos in the U.S. but could be seen as only serving Mexican Americans because of its name. Several professional organizations use Hispanic in their name, i.e. NHJA, AHAA, SHPE, HNBA, etc. Understanding that some individuals relate more to one term than the other is why I have always advised clients to use both intermittently.
Most recently Latinx has entered the debate. Let’s be clear, the terms “Hispanic” or “Latino” will not be replaced by the term “Latinx.” As Daniel does say, it is more relevant to some than to others, especially millennials. The beauty of our community is that we are not monolithic and this diversity is reflected in this debate.
After reading this great piece by NBC I better understand the importance of Latinx. I consider myself Latina, Hispanic, Mexican, MexTex (born in Mexico but raised in Texas). I will add Latinx to this list without eliminating the others and use it when it makes sense. One last point, I do hope that the LA Times gives space to the other side of the debate so that people can better understand why it’s important.
So to the question, should companies use Latinx? It depends when and how the term will be used (i.e. internally, externally, Latin America) but yes you should if 1) it’s relevant to your core audiences and 2) if you are focused on inclusion. Leaders should tap employees and experts who understand our community and their main audiences to help guide them. Carefully adding the term to their lexicon could help them connect to younger employees and consumers in the U.S.
What is driving the conversation?
This week as expected we continue to see coverage around the #MeToo movement, including the announcement of a new Hollywood commission to address sexual harassment and led by Anita Hill.
Forbes profiled the new coalition created to quantify diversity and inclusion efforts in marketing and media. I think most of us agree this is a much needed initiative.
The Alabama election once again demonstrated the importance diverse communities will have in the future of our country. There has been extensive coverage about how black women helped the Democrats win the senate seat in Alabama. I do say “once again” because as this piece points out, this year we are seeing an increase in diverse candidates and voters.
Here is a good read from Steve Barrett about Barri Rafferty‘s promotion as it relates to diversity in PR – yes there is much work to be done.
Congratulations to the LATINA Style top 10 corporate executives of 2017, here is the list.
Congratulations to Maame Biney, she is the first African-American woman to qualify for the U.S. Olympics team in speed skating!
As we head into Christmas, here is the #ICYMI of the week, this uplifting piece on Anthony Anderson, a young opera singer.
Wishing everyone a wonderful Holiday. Feliz Navidad.
Featured photo by James Motter on Unsplash