The Optics of ‘Latinx’ in Arkansas

The Optics of ‘Latinx’ in Arkansas | OP-ED

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders bans ‘Latinx’ on first day, because there’s obviously nothing else more important to take on.


Arkansas’ newest Governor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders has a lot to be proud of. 

She went from being a White House Press Secretary under President Donald Trump to being Arkansas’ first female Governor, and the first to govern in the same state as her father, succeeding former Gov. Mike Huckabee. 

She was very eager to get started. 

At her inauguration and in her new office on Wed., Jan. 12, she looked like a kid in a candy store with a red flushed face, and a smile as wide as the amount of inclusion she was about to do away with. 

What could she be so joyous and in such a hurry to do? Carry on the legacy of her father? No, not that necessarily. 

Introduce legislation that addresses state issues in the school system, the economy, and drugs? Please, there’s no time for mucking about. 

Ludicrously ban the usage of Latinx, the gender-neutral form and all inclusive term of ‘Latino’ or ‘Latina’ used to promote further LGBTQ+ inclusion and for all nonbinary individuals? Yes!

As you can see, she had no choice. 

The usage of Latinx is a prime concern of hers so you can understand why she was so giddy to race down to the state Capitol Building in Little Rock to sign the order titled: 

The Executive Order to Respect the Latino Community by Eliminating Culturally Insensitive Words from Official Use in Government, or as I renamed it: 

The Executive Order to DISRESPECT the Latino Community by MORONICALLY Eliminating Culturally SENSITIVE Words from Official Use in Government — a real example of the GOP’s real agenda — the “anti-woke” agenda that has been touted by other GOP officials such as Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

This was was one of seven other executive orders Huckabee Sanders signed into law, Wednesday, Jan. 11, that include: 

An executive order to Reduce Government Rules and Regulations, to Limit Government Overreach, Reduce Bureaucracy and Review Previous Executive Orders, and — one in particular that also has made the rounds on national news — order to Prohibit Indoctrination and Critical Race Theory in Schools. 

The 'Land of Opportunity’ state is seizing its own opportunity to further disenfranchise a historically marginalized community by doing away with a word she probably has never even come into contact with. 

She cited a 2020 Pew Research report that revealed only 3% of the Hispanic population across the country uses the word, and used that as an explanation for signing the order. 

So considering that information, was it really that important to get that signed on the first day in office then? 

The Governor also failed to mention that in the same report, over 76% of Hispanics in the U.S. had never even heard the word, offering that up as justification as well. 

There are two separate things going on with Sanders. 

One is the banning of the word itself and two, seeing firsthand what her priorities are when her state has serious issues to address regarding the educational system where staff and students are fighting a never-ending battle over absenteeism, low test scores and complaints of employee dissatisfaction.

The University of Arkansas also released this past November, the 24th annual Arkansas Poll that polled voters ahead of the midterm elections. According to the results, voters were most concerned about the economy, politics and drugs — two of the top three concerns from the previous year. 

So you cannot blame her for doing what she did. 

She was simply protecting her constituents from the imminent danger of a word that is rarely used nationwide — let alone in Arkansas — and not widely adopted. 

The Governor really threw down the hammer on an “issue” that will ultimately affect no one. A decision merely done for the optics. 

The executive order is just one of other several anti–LGBTQ+ bills recently introduced in state legislatures across the country, which makes the ban look more like an attack on trans and nonbinary individuals since the word is considered more of an LGBTQ+ inclusive term. 

But who am I to say who she is really targeting with this order? I am sure it is as transparent as her own party is. 


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