Research in Latinx Studies requires critical attention to the keywords you use--perhaps even more so than other fields.
People of Latin American, Caribbean, Spanish, and Portuguese descent in the United States are not a monolith. Therefore, no one term will ever fully capture the diversity of identities, ethnicities, nationalities, races, and experiences which are grouped under terms like "Latinx," "Latine," Latino/a," "Hispanic," and "Hispanic-American." Use of these words is contextual and situational.
The very desire for one all-encompassing term to describe this diverse mix of people comes from academic, governmental, activist, and economic impulses and strategies to identify labels for groups--despite the fact that many individuals within those groups do not use or prefer to describe themselves with those terms.
Here are some essential keywords to keep in mind, depending on the kinds of sources you are looking for:
|Latino, Latina, Latin@||Commonly used adjectives in books, book chapters, articles, and mass media that allow gender binaries of masculine (o), feminine (a) and masculine/feminine (@). Latino as an adjective reflects the acceptance of the -o ending in Spanish to describe a group of people that includes men; men and women; or as a default when gender is not specified. Latin@ is used to encompass masculine and feminine.|
Latinx and Latine originated as categories by and for transgender and gender-diverse individuals. They have come into wider use as a form of rejecting masculine/feminine gender binaries when labeling a group that encompasses diverse gender identities. Latine is a more recent development than Latinx that reflects a preference to use the "e" rather than the "x" because it is easier to pronounce in speech. Both tend to be used in progressive and activist-leaning publications, whether academic or popular/ mass media. At present, you are more likely to find Latinx in academic publications and databases than Latine.
|Hispanic||Term used by the U.S. Government to collect census data, thus a common keyword in demography, politics and media. It is also a term that many use to self-identify, along with the Spanish hispana/o.|
|Hispanic Americans||Key term to use when looking for books, since this continues to be the standard Library of Congress subject heading used to catalog books about Latines in the United States.|
|Chicano, Chicana, Chicanx, Chicane||
Refers to Mexican-Americans, particularly in relation to activist movements of the 20th century
Mexican-American, Mexican Americans
|Hyphenated nationalities are commonly used across publications and in Library of Congress subject headings.|
|Puerto Rican, Puerto Ricans||Commonly used across publications, including Library of Congress subject headings. Also try boricua, which may appear in titles and texts, but not subject headings.|
Cubans --- United States
Mexicans --- United States
Venezuelans --- United States
Colombians --- United States
|Try subject searches for nationality AND United States when looking for academic resources.|
|Afro-Latino, Afro-Latina, Afro-Latinx, Afro-Latine||Terms used to describe people of both African and Latin American descent. Not a Library of Congress subject heading.|
|African-American, African-Americans||Library of Congress subject heading that may be used in combination with others for books about Afro-Latines, e.g. African-Americans AND Hispanic-Americans.|
|Black, Blacks||Library of Congress subject heading that may be used in combination with others for books about Afro-Latines, e.g. Blacks AND Hispanic-Americans, Blacks AND Colombia, Blacks AND Brazil...|