Far-left Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defended using the word “Latinx” to describe Hispanic men and women over the weekend and slammed her Democratic colleagues who she said “rail against” it — despite polling data indicating most Hispanics don’t use the term or virulently object to it.
“In the spirit of pride, I wanted to have a note on gender inclusivity in the Spanish language,” Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said in a video posted to her Instagram story. “People sometimes like to make a lot of drama over the term ‘Latinx.’ But even before ‘Latinx,’ people were trying to do this, like, use an at [@ symbol] to have the ‘A’ and the ‘O’ [in ‘Latino’ and ‘Latina’] together.”
“Gender is fluid, language is fluid,” Ocasio-Cortez went on. “[You] don’t have to make drama over it.”
At that point, the “Squad” member hit out at her fellow Democrats in what she called a “mini-rant.”
“There are some politicians – including Democratic politicians – that rail against the term ‘Latinx.’ And they’re like, ‘This is so bad. This is so bad for the party like, blah, blah blah.’ And like, it’s almost as though it has not struck some of these folks that another person’s identity is not about your reelection prospects,” she said. “Like, this is not about you.”
The congresswoman, whose father is from the Bronx and mother is from Puerto Rico, told her supporters that if her colleagues are so worried about using the term, they need to rethink their priorities.
“You need to talk about health care more, you need to raise people’s wages, you need to talk more about issues that also matter to people,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez went on to claim that while “Latinx” is more convenient in written form, another gender-neutral term, “Latine,” is a better alternative when speaking. She also suggested both terms are comparable to the Spanish word “nosotres,” which translates to “us” or “we.”
“That being said, if you don’t want to use it, no one’s forcing you to,” Ocasio-Cortez concluded. “But for people who enjoy trying to figure out language and have it meet the modern age, that’s kind of where it’s at.”
Her rant on inclusivity came just days after fellow New York Democrat Rep. Ritchie Torres blasted the New York Yankees for using the term “Latinx” in a tweet about gun violence.
“I represent the South Bronx, home to the Yankees. Never heard anyone locally use the term ‘Latinx.’ Does a majority of Hispanics actually use the term ‘Latinx’?” Torres posted in a Twitter thread on May 27. “If the answer is ‘no’, how did ‘Latinx’ come to be the term to use in government and Corporate America?”
“If you are speaking to a particular person who prefers ‘Latinx,’ then, by all means, use the term,” Torres later clarified. “But if you are referring to the Hispanic community in general, why not use the term that the majority itself predominantly uses?”
“Every community should have the right to label itself, rather than have a label imposed on them by others,” Torres continued.
The lawmaker later cited a 2020 Pew Research poll that found fewer than one in four Hispanics have heard of the term “Latinx” while only 3% use it.
Despite his skepticism of the term, Torres has a history of using “Latinx” on social media, including when describing himself.
“Honored to earn the endorsement @BOLDDems which has been at the forefront of strengthening Latinx representation in Congress. The backing of @BOLDDems is a game-changer in the #SouthBronx, which is home to one of the highest Latinx populations in the US,” Torres wrote in December 2019.
“A new generation of Latinx representation is rising,” he posted in October 2020, linking to an NBC News tweet promoting the growing number of Hispanic lawmakers.
“Never for a moment did I imagine becoming the first openly #LGBTQ Afro-Latinx member of Congress and joining the ranks of the @outmagazine Out100. #RainbowWave,” he tweeted a month later.
In November, a Bendizen and Amandi International survey found that only 2% of Hispanic registered voters refer to themselves as “Latinx.” The poll found that the majority – 68% – described themselves as “Hispanic” while 21% used the terms “Latino” or “Latina.”
The poll also found that 40% of respondents said the term “Latinx” bothers or offends either a little, somewhat, or a lot.