New US governor deletes de-gendered term from documents
Incoming Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed an executive order removing the term ‘Latinx’, a de-gendered neologism that itself has replaced ‘Latino’ and ‘Latina’, from official documents on her first day in office on Tuesday.
All state bodies have 60 days to replace the offending term in their paperwork under the order, which also requires them to submit a report to the governor about its current use. Acceptable “ethnically appropriate language” to be used in its place includes ‘Latino’, ‘Latina’, and ‘Hispanic’.
“Ethnically insensitive and pejorative language has no place in official government documents or government employee titles,” the order from the former Trump press secretary read, explaining that one “can no more easily remove gender from Spanish and other Romance languages than one can remove vowels and verbs from English.”
The order was framed as a gesture of respect to “the Latino community,” pointing out that less than 3% of American Latinos use the genderless term and the official body governing the Spanish language has “officially rejected” the substitution of ‘x’ for the gendered endings ‘a’ and ‘o’.
The 2020 Pew Research poll that yielded that statistic also shows that more than three quarters (76%) of Latinos had never even heard of the term ‘Latinx’, which was only added to the widely-used Merriam-Webster English dictionary in 2018.
Pew also found that adoption of ‘Latinx’ was strongly correlated with political affiliation, with Latinos who leaned Democrat almost twice as likely to have heard of it as those who leaned Republican. Meanwhile, a December 2021 survey found 40% of Hispanics found the woke term “bothersome or offensive.”
The order was one of seven that Sanders, the daughter of former state governor Mike Huckabee, issued the day she was sworn in as Arkansas’ first female governor. Other edicts included a ban on “indoctrination and critical race theory in schools” and a hiring freeze for all state government posts.