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Biden administration clings to ‘Latinx’ while Hispanic Democrats eye ban

While the Biden administration is still clinging to the gender-neutral term “Latinx” to describe people of Latin-American descent, Hispanic Democrats in Connecticut are trying to ban the term from government documents, calling it offensive.

The term “Latinx” has become increasingly popular at the academic level, but it has failed to catch on among the rest of America. A Pew Research poll found that in 2019, only 3% of self-identifying Hispanics or Latinos in the U.S. identified as “Latinx.” That number dropped to 2% in 2021, according to a survey from Bendixen & Amandi International, which also found that 40% of respondents were offended by the term.

Arkansas became the first state in the country to ban “Latinx” in government documents after Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed an executive order on her first day in office last month.

Connecticut may follow in her footsteps after five Hispanic Democrats introduced a bill to prohibit state agencies from using it in the Connecticut General Assembly.


The one-paragraph bill, HB 6384, would require that the “general statutes be amended to prohibit any state agency, or state employee on behalf of a state agency, from using the term ‘Latinx’ on any official communications or forms of the state agency.”

Democratic state Rep. Geraldo Reyes Jr., the bill’s chief sponsor, told the Yale Daily News that “the overwhelming majority of people who live in Latin American countries neither use nor support the term.”

“This has been offensive and derogatory to all Puerto Ricans, and it’s something that hasn’t sat well with a lot of people here for a while,” he told CT Insider. “When I found out that [Sanders] banned it on her first day in the office, I saw that as an opportunity for me to do the same thing.”


While “Latinx” appears on its way out of the political vernacular, the Biden administration is still clinging to the term in press releases, speeches and especially during National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Last month, the White House announced that Julio Guity-Guevara, who was selected in 2020 “as one of the top 40 Latinx experts in U.S. national security and foreign policy by the Diversity in National Security Network and New America,” was Biden’s pick to join the Inter-American Foundation (IAF).

In December, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said “Latinx” five times while announcing a settlement against what she described as discriminatory housing practices in Hesperia, California.

Many federal government agencies celebrated the “Latinx” community during National Hispanic Heritage Month, which starts Sept. 15.

“This month, we honor the contributions of more than 60 million Americans of Hispanic, Latino, Latina, and Latinx descent to our great nation, and the many ways they make the United States a stronger, more diverse, and vibrant country,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Oct. 5.

“Each year we recognize the contributions and the important presence of Hispanic and Latinx Americans in the United States from September 15 through October 15,” the Department of Energy said Oct. 14.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) used the term “Latinx” in its budget in brief for FY2023. The federal agency has also awarded multiple project grants to universities for “Latinx”-related research.

For instance, HHS awarded nearly $1.3 million last spring to the University of Washington in Seattle to apply “critical race theory to investigate the impact” of COVID-19-related policies on opioid overdose treatments, and how “Black and Hispanic/Latinx patients” are less likely to receive methadone and buprenorphine “than non-Hispanic White patients.”

HHS similarly awarded over $240,000 last summer for the University of Colorado to study the impact of trauma exposure to “Latinx” immigrants who enter the U.S.

“Evidence suggests that Latinx immigrants in the U.S. enjoy an initial health advantage that erodes over time spent in the country as immigrants experience discrimination and are less likely to seek health and mental health care,” the grant summary states.

President Biden was pilloried when he used “Latinx” in 2021, and he hasn’t said it since. 

“It’s awful hard, as well, to get Latinx vaccinated as well. Why? They’re worried that they’ll be vaccinated and deported,” the president said on June 24, 2021.

First lady Jill Biden was widely mocked in July after she gave a speech at a “Latinx IncluXion Luncheon” in San Antonio and compared Hispanics to breakfast tacos, for which she later apologized.

Meanwhile, “Latinx” continues to be popular in higher academia, with some universities adopting it in their official style guides and policies.

Maia Gil’Adí, an assistant professor who specializes in “Latinx” literature at Boston University, recently told BU Today that the rejection of the term is coming from older generations.

“You have to ask yourself, who’s taking the surveys?” she said in an October editorial. “With the younger generations — with the kids that I teach — I would think that they’re much more comfortable using the term Latinx.”

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