Last week, I wrote about “iel,” the new gender-neutral pronoun in French that has everyone from the French president to L’Academie francaise fighting to preserve their language from the intrusions of capital-T Theory (delightfully, one French term for political correctness translates to “intellectual terrorism”). It’s not so much a matter of being opposed to progress or inclusion or even the evolution of language as it is a matter of thinking that Americans who fundamentally misunderstand the grammatical issues at play are messing around with the proper course of a language's evolution.

Meanwhile, in Spanish, substantively the same issue is playing out: American progressive theorists of gender have created a term that sounds English and has been regarded by most natives of the Romance language as the intruder that it is. A recent flurry of commentary has finally found Democratic and progressive-aligned groups taking the issue of the word “Latinx” seriously, years after conservatives pointed out they had a self-own on their hands. The impetus for all of this was a recent poll performed by Democratic Hispanic outreach firms Bendixen and Amandi International, which surveyed some 800 Spanish speakers in America and found that, even among the youngest cohort, 4% of Hispanics identified with the term. Meanwhile, 40% said it bothers or offends them, and 30% said they’d be less likely to vote for someone who says it.

The poll occasioned some welcome backtracking on the "Latinx" thing from progressives and Democrats. In a Politico article on the phenomenon by two journalists who really should be trying to change their publication’s name to "Politicx," we find Democratic outreach specialists describing “young activists” demanding the use of "Latinx, while everyone else finds it “mystifying and ridiculous.” Even better, we find the founder of Univision saying it’s “too weird. It’s dumb. It’s foreign. It’s not Spanish.”

It’s almost rote, at this point, to go over the problems with imposing “Latinx” on Latinos. Most of them are not concerned with the idea that their language’s grammar norms exclude gender-fluid and gender-nonconforming people. Also, most normal Spanish speakers would have no idea how to pronounce this term — obviously the invention of an English speaker. The letter X, or equis, doesn’t make the sound in Spanish that it does in English, where it’s already unwieldy. Further, Americans descended from Venezuela, Peru, Spain, and so on are likelier to identify with their own ancestry or simply as American than they are to identify as a member of a broader ethnicity that really doesn’t exist except for census purposes. Whatever woke person invented “Latinx” thought that “Hispanic” wouldn’t solve the gender binary problem with Latino/Latina because it invokes Spanish colonialism. But that’s nonsense. Every Spanish speaker knows the word “hispanohablante,” the somewhat rare gender-neutral word in Spanish, which means “Spanish speaker.” And, big surprise here, the Spanish-speaking peoples of the world are not horrified by the very name of the Spanish language. They don’t associate it with Hernan Cortes; they associate it with their mothers. Of course.

You would think that the sort of people who worry about “problematic” sins such as cultural appropriation and cultural imperialism would have a better defense mechanism against imposing their own ideas and norms on outside groups that haven’t historically been given a voice in American public discourse. Two days after the Politico story about the damage "Latinx" was wreaking on the Democrats' appeal among Latinos, the president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the oldest Latino civil rights group in the United States, instructed staff to drop the term. Good on him too. But it should not take a poll to push most Democrats into overruling the hyperprogressive minority of wealthy urban dwellers who never encounter someone who didn’t go to a selective college and who like more than anything to talk over people while claiming to speak for them. They’re wrong virtually every time.