“LatinX, big Confusion!”

LatinX is rejected by up to 98 percent of the population it is supposed to name.

By Raoul Lowery Contreras

From the third grade through college, I never attended a school where a 98 percent of the student body looked like me and/or spoke anything but English. I had no peers. I was called a “wetback” more times than I could count.

In that I shared the experience of “Negros” (Spanish for black) who were called the “N” word. Joining the “N” word were “colored,” then “Black,” then “African American,” words chosen that eventually made “Negro” and “colored.” disappear. The “N” word was overwhelmed by American media, politics and American business. Thankfully.

We, who were formally called “wetbacks,” are now being dictated to by American Progressives, liberals, social and political activists to change the acceptable words “Hispanic” and “Latino” that refer to the 60 million-plus people in America who have ethnic or cultural roots in Latin America or Spain, itself. These language bullies are trying to force the 60-million plus to call themselves the allegedly “gender-free” LatinX.

I reject LatinX, just as I reject those who are trying to convince America to abandon Hispanic or Latino. I am not alone.

First, some history. Before President Richard Nixon’s election in 1968, recognition of the growing population of American ethnic and/or cultural Spanish-speakers was to round-up and deport Mexicans who managed to live in the USA without a “green card” or citizenship by process or birth mostly in California, Arizona or Texas. Notorious round-ups of “illegal aliens” in the early 1930s in Los Angeles were called “repatriation.” Over-eager Los Angeles Police backed up by Border Patrol agents without orders enthusiastically rounded up thousands of people, loaded them in cattle cars and shipped them 150 miles south to Tijuana, Mexico, even if they were U.S. citizens.

Contrary to legend, President Hebert Hoover never gave orders for the round-ups and deportations.

In 1954, “Operation Wetback” was implemented by President Eisenhower’s Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) that rounded up Mexicans living in the U.S. without permission. The Government lied about its effectiveness but some Mexicans were deported. They came back immediately because Mexican labor was prized in California, Arizona and Texas. It still is.

The National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) - count - biannually by the federal government states 50% of ALL agricultural workers in the United States are here working illegally.

The word “wetback” was official with 1954’a “Operation Wetback.” President Nixon was elected in 1968; one of the first moves in 1969 was moving a Committee of Spanish Speaking into the White House. A woman bureaucrat in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) inserted the word “Hispanic” into meetings of HUD executives to substitute for “Chicano” and it took hold. Nixon’s “Hispanic” overcame the words “Latino” and “Chicano” in the media.

Until, that is, a Los Angeles Times reporter, one of its first Hispanic reporters -- Frank del Olmo, convinced Los Angeles Times editorial executives that no word from the Nixon White House for the Spanish speaking was kosher for use by the Times. Del Olmo used to brag that his mother wouldn’t let the LA Times in their house because it was so conservative and anti-Mexican. She also despised Republicans. So did he.

His mother was right, the pre-1960s LA Times was rabidly anti-Mexican and led the city’s racist police in cheerleading the courts to convict two dozen Mexicans of murder in the “Sleepy Lagoon” murder case despite no evidence and no witnesses. The case was such a LA TIMES legal lynching that Governor Earl Warren and the state’s highest courts set the convictions aside and freed the innocent Mexicans.

On the subject of “Hispanics,” del Olmo was able to use the rancid Times history of anti-Mexicanism to discourage the use of Nixon’s “bureaucratic Hispanic” and to use del Olmos’ “Latino.” Eventually, Hispanic and Latino became interchangeable after del Olmo died.

Now comes “LatinX.” Academics, activists and men-hating women are pushing for America to use “gender-neutral LatinX.”

Baloney, I finally arrived at a place to use “Latino,” which is also gender-less when discussing all such people, men and women. It can also mean male only. However, “Latina” is exclusive to use for women.

To many, Hispanics means educated, middle and upper class hard workers who use English more than Spanish. Latino is less educated, blue collar, hard working people whose children are bi-lingual but abandon Spanish by the third generation.

LatinX means nothing, literally, and is rejected by up to 98 percent of the population it is supposed to name. Good. It’s as terrible as “colored” or “people of color.”