The Spanish language is an intrinsically gendered language. Different nouns can be either male or female forms.

Spanish, like many languages, also has the idea of the non-female version of the word. The key one is “Latinos” referring to any number of people regardless of gender. In the past few years, there has been a small, but very vocal movement to replace “Latino” with “Latinx” (pronounced “la – teen – ex”).

I asked a Latino friend of mine about this. My original thought is that this is mostly a way for people here in the US, primarily native English-speakers, to English-splain why Spanish-speakers should be offended by the mere term “Latino.” The source of this doesn’t seem to be as clear to him, but overall I think the feelings are the same: that this is people who are trying to be offended making the noise.

My personal take on this matter is that it’s easier to fight language like this, that was never rooted in oppression, than it is to work to solve real problems. Language may represent the problems, but as such, it isn’t the cause of problems. Solving the symbol does little (or more likely nothing) to even make a difference in the causes.