Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders bans “Latinx” from government documents “to respect the Latino community”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a controversial executive order the day she was inaugurated as governor of Arkansas, issuing an order banning “Latinx” from government documents and calling the gender-neutral term “insensitive.”
The order, which she says was issued “to respect the Latino community,” says that “ethnically insensitive and derogatory language,” and the term Latinx specifically, “has no place” in government documents or employee titles.
Latinx, by definition, is a gender-neutral alternative to Latina or Latino.
“Gender can no more easily be removed from Spanish and other Romance languages than vowels and verbs can be removed from English,” the order says. “It is the policy of the Governor’s administration to prohibit the use of culturally insensitive language on official state government business.”
Sanders ordered all state entities to review their official documents and submit a written report to her office regarding the current use of the term. State offices and agencies have less than 60 days to review all existing materials to replace any form of Latin with Hispanic, Latin or other repetitions of the two terms.
“In Arkansas, we will not tolerate indoctrination or [Critical Race Theory]we reject ‘Latinx’ and will not assist China’s data collection or exploitation,” Sanders tweeted Friday. “On Day 1, we set the tone for an administration that will empower Arkansas and protect our freedom at every turn.”
In Arkansas, we will not tolerate indoctrination or CRT, we reject “latinx” and we will not assist in the collection or exploitation of China data.
On day one, we set the tone for an administration that will empower Arkansas and protect our freedom at every turn. pic.twitter.com/3j6tFFAWIL
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) January 13, 2023
Sanders cited 2020 research from the Pew Research Center for her decision, which found that 3% of Latino adults use the term Latinx to describe themselves. Most of those who do are women between the ages of 18 and 29, the research found. And while the percentage of those who personally identify as Latino is low, the research also shows that 33% of the Latino population believes the term should be used to describe the Hispanic or Latino population.
There has been debate among the Latino and Hispanic communities as to whether the term should be used, with some arguing that it provides gender inclusiveness as others say it is not grammatically correct. But either way, the use of the term comes back to the question of what should be allowed when it comes to personal identity.
And for many, this is not a topic that warrants state oversight.
“This is an internal debate and decision between us Latinos/Hispanics,” tweeted Broadway actor Javier Muñoz, known for his roles in “In the Heights” and “Hamilton.” “None of us want or need you to be our white savior @SarahHuckabee. We define ourselves. You have no say in the matter.”
Immigration activist Astrid Silva also commented on the issue.
“Do I think my community has issues with the term Latinx? Yes,” she said. “Do they fight more with fear-mongering, underpaid politicians, unaffordable health care, and an immigration system that is stacked against us? A LOT more.”
On the same day as the order to stop the term, Sanders issued a series of other orders, including a hiring and promotion freeze among state entities, revising all existing executive orders and banning “critical race theory” in School.