The first time I ever heard the term “LatinX” was for a former employer’s marketing clients. Both of these interviewees about elder LatinX family members and LatinX trauma, that I wrote for their blog and magazine, preferred this term. And I’m of the opinion that I’ll rock with whatever racial terminology that you are most comfortable using. It’s not for me to pick apart. If you go by it, me too. That’s been my opinion since the days at my first college when I sat down to talk to tribes who preferred “Native American,” “American Indian,” “Natives” and then their actual tribe.

But the “LatinX” discussion I had with the first two interviewees took me back to college when I talked with a friend of mine who was Dominican. He insisted on being called “Latino” and said “Hispanic” was like calling black people “Negro.” Interestingly I later briefly worked for a magazine called New Negro Magazine paying homage to the New Negro movement affiliated with the Harlem Renaissance. And then when I ended up working for the Chicago Defender, an African American newspaper, I remember a teenager going into an uproar about us having anything with “Negro” in the paper — even though the paper has been running since 1905.

So I get your argument that erasing a sign of the times undermines what was created/in print before new names came about. I just don’t have a “one size fits all” approach to racial identity. If one person wants to be identified as LatinX, cool. The next Chicano, all right. The third Hispanic, you got it. Again, it’s not my battle and not my ball to play with. I can respect you enough to identify you with however you tell me to. My only hangup is when people do not tell me and just expect me to know. And because of my Dominican friend’s detest for the term “Hispanic,” then his preference for “Latino” has been my go-to.

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Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

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