Although this is considered “hispanic heritage month”, Sunrise SD will be using this month for a re/education series highlighting Xicanx history and the health and quality of life impacts of colonialism on our community. We choose not to celebrate the word “Hispanic” as it is a misguided blanket term when you consider the complex identities within the Latinx community. Additionally, “[‘hispanic’] is very Eurocentric and it denies our indigenous heritage,” Matthew R. Fraijo wrote in his 2004 coming-of-age book, The Transcendent Journey “The Aztecs had a society far more advanced than anything in Europe at the time. Look, the word has the root ‘panic’ in it. But whose panic? His panic. The white man’s panic.” Therefore, we see “Latino” and “Latina” as a work around this by including people from all Latin countries, though with a gendered subtext. That is why we see “Latinx” as a more favorable and inclusive term.
Throughout this month we will be using the term “Xicanx” to celebrate this culture specifically. We choose this term and spelling for a few reasons. First, the term rejects any nationalist identity — as opposed to Mexican-American or Latin-American – and instead emphasizes an identity rooted in political activism and decolonization. Secondly, we use the ‘X’ spelling as opposed to the ‘Ch’ as it aligns with the indigenous etymology of the term. Finally, We use ‘x’ at the end to make it a gender-neutral term that is inclusive to all gender identities.
While we hope to share knowledge and different perspectives on history, we also realize we are still learning ourselves and are on a path of growth so this is as much of an education for us as it is for our audience. If there is something you think we left out or we didn’t consider, please let us know as we’d love to continue to grow together!