A brand’s decision on naming its audience must ladder back to its mission and values. This means using Latinx might not only be justified but imperative. The same is true, of course, for Hispanic and every other term.
Take, for example, a recent decision by Los Angeles Times’ writer Fidel Martinez to name the publication's popular Latinx-focused newsletter “The Latinx Files.” Martinez said that the choice to use the word Latinx was out of a desire for inclusion, representing a new spirit of unity. For Martinez, it also meant putting to rest existing terms that don't work for his cultural identity. This hasn’t ended the criticism over the term Latinix—in fact, it’s gotten even louder—but Martinez’s is grounded in a mission and in values that aren’t easily swayed by the opinions of others. Today, The Latinx Files is the most widely subscribed Latinx-focused newsletter in the country.
By contrast, in 2021—almost seven months after the Latinx Files newsletter began—the Times also launched a content portal featuring stories about Latinos called “Latino Life,” created by Assistant Editor David Carrillo Peñaloza. “From my 23 years in journalism,” he said, “people in California and on the West Coast prefer Latino over Hispanic if you’re trying to put Mexicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and people from Latin American countries together.” Peñaloza grounded his decision in personal experience and collective history.
In the run-up to Hispanic Heritage Month, brands might be searching for a silver bullet term, one that signals respect and cultural relevance. While I can’t hand you the one-size-fits-all term, I can offer you perspective to find your own language to speak with more cultural confidence: