The new executive order restricts any future official Arkansas documents from using “Latinx” and calls on the government to replace the term with the words “Latino” and/or “Latina” in previous records.
Sanders gave multiple justifications for the ban:
First, she cited a well-known Pew Research Center study that found only 3% of the Latino and Hispanic U.S. population use Latinx. The nation’s youngest governor’s executive order referred to Latinx as an example of “ethnically insensitive and pejorative language” that seeks to “remove gender from the Spanish language” and cited the Real Academia Española of Madrid, Spain, which has deemed the “x” suffix improper for the Spanish language.
Latinx became popular among activist circles, LGBTQ people of Latin American origins and various online communities. Proponents of the term argue that it is more inclusive than the gendered Latino/Latina terminology. However, critics of using Latinx say in addition to the word not being widely adopted, it is also an attempt to impose American standards on another language and a form of cultural erasure.
Sanders appeals to such logic in her order. However, citing an institution based in Spain rather than Latin America supports a Eurocentric language interpretation. By contrast, some activists who have not adopted Latinx have suggested using “Latine” as a gender-neutral alternative that is more consistent with traditional Spanish grammar and pronunciation.