Santos on Making Language More Inclusive

Associate Professor of Social Welfare Carlos Santos spoke to Univision about the growing use of the term “Latinx” to refer to people of Latin American origin or descent. “Latinos” and “Hispanos” are commonly used to refer to people of Latin or Hispanic origin, and both terms are masculine, leaving many women and nonbinary individuals feeling excluded. Curiosity about the term “Latinx” spiked in 2015, with an increase in Google searches inquiring about its meaning. Santos said the term “is a way to speak about ourselves as a group that includes various individuals, including those who may not identify with the gender binary.” An informal survey of Spanish-speaking students at UCLA found that different students identify with the terms Latino, Hispanic and Latinx. “One of the biggest misunderstandings is that people think that they have to identify themselves as Latinx,” Santos explained, noting that the term is part of an effort to make language more inclusive over time.

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