New Poll Finds Only 2 Percent of Latinos Self-Identify As ‘Latinx’

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Photo courtesy of sacbee.com

It appears that the debate over inclusivity in language has a new chapter after the poll by Bendixen & Amandi International, a leading Democratic firm specializing in Latino outreach, found that only 2% of the population is comfortable with using the term “Latinx” to describe their ethnicity.

The new poll was conducted among 800 registered Latino voters in the United States, and interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. The margin of error is 3.46%.

While the neologism “Latinx” emerged as a more gender-neutral appellation, the Bendixen & Amandi International survey found that 40% of respondents said the term “Latinx” bothers or offends them to some degree, and 30% said they would be less likely to support a politician or organization that uses the term.

“Why are we using a word that is preferred by only 2 percent, but offends as many as 40 percent of those voters we want to win,” pollster Fernand Amandi, whose firm advised Barack Obama’s successful nationwide Hispanic outreach in his two presidential campaigns, told Politico.

Amandi stressed that he was not blaming the erosion of Latino support for Democrats solely on the use of the word Latinx. Hispanic voters have started shifting right for myriad reasons, he said, chiefly because of more aggressive engagement from Republicans who have “weaponized culture war issues at the margins with Hispanic voters.”

However, the new numbers speak to political trends and do little to reflect on the perpetual identity crisis in the Latino community.

As we had previously reported, this demographic’s need to distinguish itself but at the same time to be accepted has permeated language, paving the way for descriptors such as “Hispanic” in the 1970s and “Latino” in the 1990s.

However, both continued to perpetuate linguistic sexism and the exoneration of other genders and identities from the debate.

This coincides with the coming of age of a generation that is more aware, open, and sensitive to social struggles, delicately inserting the neologism “Latinx” into all platforms, from WhatsApp conversations to the headlines of major publications.

From being a makeshift terminology to overturn the traditional male-female duality, “Latinx” became a bone of contention among families, among colleagues, and, of course, among politicians.

As Politico explained, the use of the term Latinx by Democratic political campaigns has given the right-wing weapons to increasingly emphasize its use in an effort to portray Democrats as too far out or, at the very least, worthy of contempt.

Virginia Republican Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares — who is of Cuban descent and will be the first Hispanic to hold the office in the state — said the word Latinx turns off Latinos.

“By insisting on using the incorrect term Latinx, progressives are engaging in a type of cultural Marxism, a recast of societal norms,” he told Politico. “Latinos don’t use the term — only upper-educated white liberals who hardly interact with the Latino community. I believe that every time they use the term Latinx, they lose another Latino vote.”

However, for Chuck Rocha, Democratic strategist and former senior advisor to Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, the poll shows that the use of Latinx is not a big problem for most Hispanics, even if few choose to use the term themselves. 

As Rocha highlighted in his commentary to Politico, the poll shows that 57% of respondents are “neither bothered nor offended” by the term; only 20% said it bothered them “a lot”; 11% said it was somewhat troubling, and 9% said it was a minor annoyance. In addition, 49% said they did not mind the term Latinx being used, compared with 30% who said they were less likely to support a politician and 15% who said they were more likely to support a politician or group for using the term.