Gender Neutral Pronouns and Latin Adjectives

Roland Stahl
July, 2020

     If you are searching for a gender neutral adjective to refer to either Latinos or Latinas, how about the obvious and far more euphonious choice of “Latin” instead of the awkward and unnecessary word which has recently been assaulting my ear drums: “Latinx.”  The word “Latin” has been a perfectly available and gender neutral adjective for ages, and nothing is gained by tacking on an “x” at the end of it.  Shall we now refer to those countries below the southern border of the United States of America as “Latinx America”?  Or, how about “Africanx Americans”?  I don’t think so.  I just can’t assimilate this useless novelty.  

     The somewhat similar problem of what to do about the lack of a gender neutral third person singular pronoun in English is not at all so easy to solve.  A possible solution is to use the currently dated pronoun “one,” as in “When a person is seeking a gender neutral pronoun for persons of Latin origin, one could use the ordinary pronoun ‘Latin’.”  Or, “I don’t know who stole the cookies from the cookie jar, but I hope one doesn’t do it again!”  It may be a bit clumsy and awkward, but it’s better than “he or she” or any other alternative I have heard suggested.  It has an unfamiliar sound, but any new usage will sound unfamiliar in the beginning.

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