The Latinx of the Iceberg

Until I attempted to use the word Latinx in conversation, I was unaware of its pronunciation. Apparently, it is not “Lah-tinx,” but “Latin-ex.” Oops. That was a faux pas.

My mistake was in even trying to use this made-up word. If “people of color” sounds a bit contrived, “Latin-ex” is wholly contrived. Moreover “people of color” is merely awkward and at least has the virtue of being adequately descriptive while attempting to be inoffensive. There is no similar justification for adopting the word “Latinx.” It is being pushed on Latinos by Anglo Democrats. (Otherwise, why wouldn’t it be pronounced “Latinequis”?)

At last count, fewer than 3 percent of Latinos have any interest in using the word Latinx. Most of them are public school instructors in California. For the vast majority of Latinos, this word is recognized for what it really is—cultural imperialism foisted on them by left-wing whites with a savior complex. Its advocates are people who think they’re entitled to decide what everyone is supposed to think, how they’re supposed to talk, what they’re permitted to talk about, and which nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions, etc. are permissible, and which are forbidden.

Gibberish as Neologism

The type of person who invents a word like Latinx—leftist activists and academics and compliant bureaucrats—is the same type of person who comes up with such abominations as “accompliceship,” “androcentric,” “cisheteropatriarchy,” “conscientization,” “herstory,” “hxrstory,” “hybridities,” “womanism,” “xdisciplinary,” and mucho, mucho mas.

Normal people—oops, that is an “othering” term!—see this for what it is: gibberish. But the leftist word warriors have bitten off more than they can chew when they decided to take on Spanish, a “gendered” language. While they’re deciding whether or not to accept “latinx/a/o” or move everyone straight to the new “Latinx,” they’re forgetting that every noun in the Spanish language is either masculine or feminine. Latinx is the tip of an iceberg that runs deep into the linguistic ocean.

To truly appreciate how utterly futile the imposition of the gender-neutral Latinx is on the Spanish language, consider how Spanish handles its gendered nouns. It is not simply necessary to change the definite articles preceding these nouns. For example, you must say “el gato” because “gato,” which means “cat,” is a masculine noun. But you must say “la mujer,” because, naturally, “mujer,” which means “woman,” is a feminine noun. “El” is masculine and “la” is feminine. And if it’s plural, you have to go with “los” instead of “el,” and “las” instead of “la.” In English, all of that is merely “the.” But you’re still just scratching the surface of this linguistic iceberg called Spanish.

If you want to say “the cat is pretty,” you say “el gato es bonito.” But if you want to say “the woman is pretty,” you say “la mujer es bonita.” Depending on the gender of the noun, not only the definite article, but the adjective is also altered “bonito” vs. “bonita.” Shall we go with “bonitx.” Why not?

It gets messier and messier. In Spanish, the pronouns affect how you conjugate a verb. For example, in English, you’ll say, “I eat,” “you eat,” “they eat,” and “we eat.” Not in Spanish. They have to say “yo como,” “tu comes,” “ellos comen,” and “nosotros comemos.” And it just goes on and on. This is just the present tense. Want to conjugate the indicative present, preterite, imperfect, conditional, or the subjunctive present, imperfect, second imperfect, or future? What about the various forms of the imperative, progressive, perfect, or perfect subjunctive tenses?

In English, regardless of the tense, there are four ways to conjugate the verb “eat.” You can say “eat,” “eats,” “eaten,” or “ate.” The conjugations of “eat” in Spanish, on the other hand, include, but are not limited to, the following words: “Coma, comiera, comiese, comiere, comas, comieras, comieses, comieres, comamos, comiéramos, comiésemos, comiéramos, comáis, comierais, comieses, comiereis, coman, comieran, comiesen, comiendo, and comido.”

The dictionary that catalogs just 501 of the most common Spanish verb conjugations is 681 pages of small type. Nobody has ever published an English verb dictionary. There is no such thing. It’s too simple. Let that sink in.

Toward Gender Complexity

Think about what the woke word warriors are taking on when they want to impose gender neutrality on Spanish, starting with the word “Latinx/a/o,” but already encroaching onto “Chicanx/a/o” as well as “Filipinx/a/o.” Because at least Spanish only has the normal array of pronouns, you know, “me, you, he, she, they, we.”

Imagine for a moment how, in a language as complex as Spanish, you would superimpose the many new pronouns that, if the woke word warriors had their way, everyone would be compelled to start using. In English, these newly invented words include “sie, ey, ve, tey, e, zim, em, ver, ter, zir, hir, eir, vis, tem, eir, zis, hirs, eirs, vers, ters, and eirs.” 

And by the way, here’s advice from “them.us” on what to do if you “mispronoun” someone: 

We all make mistakes, and you likely will the first handful of times you’re referring to someone by pronouns you’re not familiar with. It’s okay! Briefly apologize, correct yourself, and continue the conversation. Apologizing profusely can draw unnecessary attention to or cause embarrassment for someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns. Quickly acknowledge your mistake and correct yourself, and then continue on with the conversation.

Gee. Thanks. Do us all a favor, though. Spanish is hard enough. It doesn’t need 22 more pronouns. There are so many byzantine gotchas in Spanish as it is, just leave it alone.

In the attempts by the Left to alter the Spanish language, there’s a serious conflict at work. The woke word warriors on one hand want to create gender-neutral language, but meanwhile, they’re creating dozens of new genders. They don’t want gender neutrality, they want gender complexity. These are not compatible goals.

And by the way, if the woke word warriors ever seriously got hold of the Spanish language, how would they deal with the arbitrary nature of the gender choices? There are no clues. Metaphors and stereotypes are useless. For example, “the tower,” “la torre,” is feminine, yet “the dress,” “el vestido,” is masculine. How can this be? Sometimes the gender choices challenge stereotypes in a way that might meet with woke word warrior approval, for example “the motorcycle,” “la moto,” is feminine. Yet the gender choices for some nouns reek of sexism, for example “la serpiente y la manzana,” “the serpent and the apple,” are both feminine. You got that right, original sin is feminine. That’s what happens when you have a cisheteropatriarchical language!

Western Civilization Is the Target

Which brings us to Latino culture. One of Mexico’s early cinema heroes is Pedro Infante. His films mixed comedy, drama, and music, and remain popular more than 60 years after his death. In one of his movies, he is asked to name the “10 fingers of Mexican culture.” They are: “religion, homeland, family, honor, work, and a horse, gun, drink, guitar, and cards.”

Does this sound familiar? It should. Because the first five of these Latino traits—religion, homeland, family, honor, and work—are awfully similar to the “white traits” or “whiteness” the Left so disparages, which include “individualism, hard work, objectivity, the nuclear family, progress, respect for authority, and delayed gratification.” In both cases, these are Western standards, shared by Anglos and Latinos alike. If Pedro Infante knew what the woke word warriors are trying to do to his language, he would be turning in his grave.

The mortal fear of the Left, soon to be realized, is an alliance of Anglos and Latinos in defense of Western virtues and Western civilization. Religion, homeland, family, honor, and work. Those are values to rally behind. The Left offers nothing.

Someday we will put Father Junípero Serra’s statues back, in all the places in California where these rampaging nihilists tore them down. We will put Queen Isabella’s statue back in the Capitol rotunda in Sacramento, on the day when Anglos and Latinos who love their common heritage take back the legislature and chase the fanatics and their cowardly enablers out of the city.

Until then, leave our languages alone. They’re challenging enough without all your nonsense.

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About Edward Ring

Edward Ring is a senior fellow of the Center for American Greatness. He is also the director of water and energy policy for the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. Ring is the author of Fixing California: Abundance, Pragmatism, Optimism (2021) and The Abundance Choice: Our Fight for More Water in California (2022).

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