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Readings and resources: The complexity of Latinx

Updated: Aug 12, 2021

Are you looking for readings and podcasts on Latinx for your studies, syllabi, or fun reading?

Since 2016, I have studied the term Latinx. I co-authored papers on Latinx with Adele Lozano, Erin Doran, Roberto Orozco, valerie guerrero, and Ethan Swingle. My interest in the term Latinx started when editors of a journal asked me to replace Latina/o with Latinx. Also, at professional conferences, I was called Latinx; yet, I did not understand what it stood for.

I remember when I was at NASPA conference with Adele and I asked her: "Do you know what is Latinx?" I noticed people using the term, and when I asked them what it meant, no one had a concise definition. And when I asked them why they used or called me Latinx, their most common response was because "it was inclusive" and "it was the new emerging term" to name people of Latin America descent and origin.

Not understanding what Latinx meant and people calling me Latinx created confusion, yet it developed an interest to research Latinx. My research on Latinx started to focus on "what is Latinx," not "who is Latinx." At the time, I felt the urgency to understand what Latinx is before I used it as a label/term to identify people.

My research has emerged and challenged my thinking and usage of Latinx. Before, I understood Latinx as an inclusive term for all. However, through research, I learned that Latinx (or Latine, Latini, and Latinu) is a gender for people who do not identify with the gender binary. For example, for someone who might not understand Latinx (Latine, Latini, and Latinu), I explain that Latinx (Latine, Latini, and Latinu) is a third gender. However, some people will challenge that the purpose of Latinx is to disrupt the gender binary, and it is not a third gender.

I make sense of this by presenting Latino for a man and Latina for a woman, both mainstream genders in the Spanish language. And, Latinx (Latine, Latini, and Latinu) is for gender non-conforming people.

Latinx (Latine, Latini, and Latinu) is a term that disrupts binary notions of gender and is a noun for individuals who do not identify with the man/woman binary.

Latino is used in English, Spanish, and other languages. Latino is gender-neutral in English. In Spanish, the term Latino(s) refers to only male(s), and Latinos is use as gender-neutral and plural.

In Spanish, the term Latina(s) is used to refer to only female(s). However, Latina has been adopted in English or Spanglish to refer to Latina female(s).

It is important to note that these discussions occurred between English and Spanish languages. Therefore, we have not done a critical analysis of how it works in other languages. Also, it is essential to note that some people and communities use and identify with Latine, Latini or Latinu, instead of Latinx.

To dig more into the complexities of Latinx, I provided you all with a list of Latinx readings that my co-authors and I have written. And a list of some podcasts where I explained the history and meaning of Latinx. This post does not represent all that there is to know Latinx.

In another blog post, I will write more about Latin*.

Research Papers
  • Salinas, C. (2020). The complexity of the “x” in Latinx: How Latinx/a/o students relate to, identify with, and understand the term Latinx. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 19(2), 149-168.

Salinas 2020 Latinx [46]
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  • Salinas, C. & Lozano, A. (2021). History and Evolution of the term Latinx. In E. G. Murillo, D. Delgado Bernal, S. Morales, L. Urrieta, E. Ruiz Bybee, J. Sánchez Muñoz, V. B. Saenz, D. Villanueva, M. Machado-Casas, & K. Espinoza (Eds.), Handbook of Latinos and Education (second edition), (pp. 249-263). Rutledge.

History of x in Latinx Salinas and Lozano 2021 [2]
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  • Lozano, A., Salinas, C., & Orozco, R. (2021). Constructing meaning of the term Latinx: A trioethnography through Pláticas. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 1-19. [Advance online]

  • Salinas, C., & Lozano, A. S. (2019). Mapping and recontextualizing the evolution of the term Latinx; An environmental scanning in higher education. Journal of Latino and Education, 18(4), 302-315.

Mapping and recontextualizing the evolution of the term Latinx An environmental scanning i
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  • Salinas, C., Doran, E., & Swingle, E. C. (2020). Community Colleges’ usage of the term Latinx. In E. Doran (Ed.), Emerging Issues for Latinx Students, (pp. 9-20). New Directions for Community Colleges, Jossey-Bass.

If you do not have access to any of these papers via your library, please request any copy for free at Contact.

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