EXCLUSIVE: Sarah Huckabee Sanders to issue executive order banning use of 'Latinx' on Arkansas official documents

"One can no more easily remove gender from Spanish and other romance languages than one can remove vowels and verbs from English," the executive order states.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

Following her inauguration as governor of Arkansas on Tuesday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is set to sign into law seven executive orders, one of which bars the usage of "Latinx" by all state agencies and offices.

Sanders’ "Executive Order to Respect the Latino Community by Eliminating Culturally Insensitive Words from Official Use in Government" states that "Ethnically insensitive and pejorative language has no place in official government documents or government employee titles," adding that "The government has a responsibility to respect its citizens and use ethnically appropriate language, particularly when referring to ethnic minorities."

Citing Pew Research, the executive order states that just 3 percent of American Latinos and Hispanics use the phrase "Latinx."

The survey, published in August of 2020, found that 76 percent of American Latino or Hispanic adults have never heard of the term "Latinx," and while 23 percent have heard of the word, just three percent of that portion use the term.

"The Real Academia Española, the Madrid-based institution which governs the Spanish language, has officially rejected the use of 'x' as an alternative to 'o' and 'a' in Spanish," the executive order added.

In 2018, the Clarin Society reported that the academy released its first style manual, rejecting the usage of "x" and "e" as gender-neutral alternatives to the traditional, gendered spelling of Spanish words.

"'Todos y todas,' 'todes,' 'todxs' or 'tod@s' are constructions that the Royal Academy rejects," the manual states.

Rep. Ruben Gallego, member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, tweeted in December of 2021 that members of his office are not allowed to use "Latinx" in official communications.

"When Latino politicos use the term it is largely to appease white rich progressives who think that is the term we use. It is a vicious circle of confirmation bias," he wrote.

In the same month, Domingo Garcia, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, instructed staff and board members to cease using "Latinx" in official communications, according to NBC News.

"Let's stop using Latinx in all official communications," García said, adding that the term is "very unliked" by almost all Latinos.

Garcia’s email included a link to a Miami Herald editorial piece titled, "The 'Latinx community' doesn't want to be called 'Latinx.' Just drop it, progressives."

"The reality is there is very little to no support for its use and it's sort of seen as something used inside the Beltway or in Ivy League tower settings, while LULAC always rep Jose and María on Main Street in the barrio and we need to make sure we talk to them the way they talk to each other," García said in a phone interview with NBC News at the time.

"One can no more easily remove gender from Spanish and other romance languages than one can remove vowels and verbs from English," the executive order adds. "It is the policy of the Governor’s administration to prohibit the use of culturally insensitive words for official state government business."

The executive order requires that all state offices, departments, and agencies unless granted an exemption by Sanders, review official documents for the usage of "Latinx," "latinx," "Latinxs," or "latinxs."

These offices, departments, and agencies are ordered to submit a written report detailing their findings on the usage of the work, and within 60 days, all documents using the term need to be revised, replacing these words with "Hispanics," "Latino," "Latinos," "Latina," or "Latinas."

"This Executive Order shall become effective upon its signing and shall remain in full force and effect until amended or rescinded by further executive orders," the executive order concludes.

On Tuesday, Sanders was sworn in as Arkansas' 47th governor, the first woman to hold the office. Sanders has previously served as White House press secretary under the Trump administration. Sanders won the race in November with 63 percent of the vote to Democrat opponent Chris Jones’ 35.2 percent. She is taking over for Asa Hutchinson, who served two terms as governor.


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