Warren Turns Back on 'Latinx' in Major Campaign Departure

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) during a town hall event in Des Moines, Iowa / Getty Images
January 21, 2020

Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) failed to use the gender-neutral term "Latinx" for the first time in seven months, marking a major departure from previous campaign rhetoric.

Warren has consistently used "Latinx" in favor of the gender-specific alternatives "Latino" and "Latina." The Massachusetts senator mentioned "African-American and Latinx" families on the June debate stage and went on to sell unisex "Latinx with Warren" t-shirts. Warren did not use the term "Latino" on Twitter after that debate.

But Warren bucked the trend Tuesday when she released her "Restoring America's Promise to Latinos" plan. Warren touted the plan by referring to the "Latino community," and while the plan uses the term "Latinx" on six occasions, it uses "Latino" more than 70 times.

"Latinx" attempts to escape the use of masculine and feminine noun forms in the Spanish language. Though only 2 percent of America's Latinos prefer the term, progressive activists began using it as a way to refer to all people of Latin American descent without excluding people who identify as neither male nor female.

The Warren campaign did not respond to a request for comment on her use of "Latino" and whether she plans to continue using "Latinx" throughout her campaign for president.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary added "Latinx" as a word in September 2018, though it noted the term may not "catch on in mainstream use." Many Latinos have since criticized the gender-neutral phrase as "elitist."

"I don't see the point of it when there's already a word for it, and it's 'Latinos,'" South Carolina resident Enrique Salas told NBC News in March.