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LULAC, the Nation’s Oldest Latino Civil Rights Organization, Decides to No Longer Use the Term ‘Latinx’

LULAC BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of houstonchronicle.com

Yes, again, we are talking about the debate surrounding the term “Latinx.” Following the findings of a new survey that found that only 2% of Latinos identify as “Latinx,” the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) announced that it had instructed staff and board members to remove the word from the group’s official communications.

Domingo Garcia, president of LULAC, the nation’s oldest Latino civil rights organization, sent the directive in an e-mail last week addressed to Sindy Benavides, the league’s chief executive officer; David Cruz, its communications director; and the organization’s board of directors.

“Let’s stop using Latinx in all official communications,” García said, adding that it’s “very unliked” by almost all Latinos.

The email included a link to a Miami Herald editorial with the headline: “The ‘Latinx community’ doesn’t want to be called ‘Latinx.’ Just drop it, progressives.”

“The reality is there is very little to no support for its use, and it’s sort of seen as something used inside the Beltway or in Ivy League tower settings, while LULAC always rep Jose and Maria on Main Street in the barrio and we need, to make sure we talk to them the way they talk to each other,” Garcia said in a phone interview with NBC News.

“I don’t know of any abuelita that calls her granddaughter, ‘Hey you Latinx, I’m going to throw you the chancla (flip-flop).’ It just doesn’t happen,” he said.

LULAC does not oppose individuals and groups that self-identify as Latinx, Mexican-American, Latino, or other terms, Garcia said. But as a national civil rights organization that tries to appeal to as many Latinos and Hispanics as possible, LULAC needs to stick with the term everyone uses in everyday speech, he said.

The board’s decision comes after the Democratic firm Bendizen & Amandi’s poll found that 30% of Hispanic voters are less likely to support a politician or political organization that uses the word.

“It isn’t inclusive; they don’t feel included,” Garcia said of the vast majority of people of Hispanic and Latino heritage, citing recent polls and in a conversation with the Houston Chronicle.

Garcia added Latinx “was invented out of the air by a very small minority… that is not reflective of what people in our community use day to day.”

“You got people in the far left that are using Latinx, and they want to abolish ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), and they want to abolish the police, that 98 percent of Latinos are against,” said Garcia. “Then you got people on the far right that, they’re using (phrases such as) illegal aliens and anchor babies and wet backs, which are racist, derogatory.”

However, both surveys and organizational decisions seem to leave out the myriad identities that fall under the umbrella of the word “Latino.” While the main concerns have to do with the midterm elections, only time will tell if the new generations will perpetuate the appellations of their predecessors.