In a piece published late last year, writer Monse Arce argues that the identifier “Latino" erases indigenous history and culture from Latin America. Indeed, using a term like “Latino/@/x” emphasizes the privileges of mestizos, reinforcing colorism amongst Latin American people. “Latino/@/x” also implies a uniformity of experience, when in reality, people of Latin American descent have wildly different lives and narratives, she adds.
“The root of [Latinx] bothers me in that it’s colonial, and my heart rages against [it],” Eusebio Ricardo Lopez-Aguilar, a Salvadoran activist and census worker based in Winnipeg, Canada, told NTRSCTN. “I haven’t used it to describe myself, but I also haven’t found a word that works.”
Many young people of Latin American descent are exploring their complex indigenous roots, and forging new, more personal identities. While some resist using "Latinx," others recognize it as the most inclusive option available, for now. “I guess first-level identification is ‘Chicanx’ [a political and cultural identifier for Mexican-Americans] and second-level is ‘Latinx’,” said performance artist Clark.
"Latinx" is not the perfect identifying term, so it shouldn't be treated as the answer in the ongoing quest to develop a cohesive postcolonial identity. Given Latin America's turbulent history and the continued disapora of its people, the process of figuring out one’s identity is both deeply personal and political. Still, using "Latinx" is a positive step towards recognizing all of nuestro gente—our people—and will hopefully challenge every Latin American to think about what it truly means to be part of this complex culture.