When woke knows best

I feel kind of lame taking this long time off and then coming back just to complain about wokeness, but, alas that’s how the spirit moves me today.  Mostly, because of the NCSU email I got today with a link to this story, “Latinx Heritage Month: What Is It and How Can You Get Involved?”

I’ve been please to see the move away from “Latinx” as more and more liberals have recognized the problematic nature of insisting on a term for a group of people who clearly do not have much desire to be referred to by that term (4% of Latinos prefer the term Latinx). 

So, interestingly, the NCSU “Latinx” folks (folx?) are aware of this pushback so they take the time to explain their use of the term:

Why does NC State call it “Latinx” Heritage Month?

“Latinx” is a new, gender-neutral term for people who share Latin American heritage. While the term’s exact origin is unclear, its earliest use was likely by LGBTQ activists of that same heritage. By inserting an “x” into “Latina” and “Latino,” they sought to disrupt the gender binary inherent in Spanish — and raise awareness of marginalized identities within their community.

Not every person of Latin American heritage feels “Latinx” represents them, but languages change to meet the needs of speakers. Many familiar words or phrases were once viewed as clunky, unnecessary or even provocative. Today, “Latinx” appears in every English dictionary and is accepted by the AP Stylebook, which NC State follows.

More importantly, we follow our students and alumni. [emphasis mine]

Many people may still prefer to call themselves Latina, Latino or something else that specifies their heritage or national origin, such as Mexican American or Venezuelan. Others may use “Hispanic” to signify they are from a Spanish-speaking country or background. We stick to the AP Stylebook by respecting an individual’s preference — while still honoring our community’s use of the general term they feel is most inclusive.

Honestly, this just comes down to “it doesn’t really matter what Hispanic/Latino people want; we (the enlightened) know best).  Some really nice elision here too with “accepted” by the AP Stylebook. In fact, I just wen to the AP Stylebook and this is actually intentionally misleading from NCSU:

Latinx, which should be confined to quotations, names of organizations or descriptions of individuals who request it and should be accompanied by a short explanation.

Meanwhile, I don’t doubt that there’s a substantial number of very vocal NCSU students and alumni arguing for “Latinx” but as twitter teaches us every day, very vocal is not necessarily a good reflection of real life.  The Gallup poll, however is.  

Of course, this is actually pretty small potatoes with all that’s going on in the world, but I do find it compelling in that I think it really does capture that “but we know best!” element that is so off-putting about woke ideology.  And damn it, I’m put-off. Mostly because I think we still need to make a lot of progress towards equality and this does not get us there. 


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: