10/8/2021 Update: To cap off Latinx Heritage Month, Discord will be donating a total of $30,000 to three of the organizations listed in this blog: United We Dream, League of United Latin American Citizens, and Oasis Legal Services.
Each will receive a $10,000 donation to support their missions. We encourage you to learn more about them in the “Further Education on Latinx Communities” section of this blog post!
¡Hola! I’m Dulce, the mascot for the La Cafetería ERG (Employee Resource Group) at Discord. This company-supported group is led by employees and serves as a space where my friends can find community, have fun, and organize to help build a better workplace and better world. They even created me as a mascot to represent the ERG!
Given the relative recentness of the term, you might be thinking to yourself: Why use the term Latinx? In recent years, there’ve been many strong opinions around what terminology to use that encapsulates the huge, vibrant Hispanic community, both within Discord and in the United States.
At Discord, we’re on a never-ending mission to build belonging, both internally and externally. We’ve had internal discussions in the ERG, and Discord as a whole, about the generational, geographical and socioeconomic differences between folks who identify as Hispanic, Latino/Latina, Chicano/a, Latinx/Latine, or anything else that fits them best. It’s been dizzying, illuminating, frustrating, warm and welcoming, confusing and validating all at once!
But we found these conversations so fruitful that we thought sharing some of the opinions and insights may be helpful for others who are looking to approach this month as inclusive as possible. Below are a handful of thoughts and stories from members of La Cafetería:
I’m an adoptee from South Texas that identifies culturally as Mexican-American. Growing up, the term Hispanic was used more often than not, but for me heritage was confusing. I didn’t know if the culture that I grew up with matched the hidden brown in my skin. I took to the term Hispanic because it could encompass parts of me that I didn’t know about. There was safety in ambiguity. Because of this, the term Hispanic still resonates with me, but I have grown to be proud of my South Texas branded Mexican-American heritage and identify as such. After going to college and meeting people who identify in a myriad of ways, I’ve taken to the inclusivity of the term Latinx. But, I recognize it’s not perfect. No single term feels like a perfect fit to encompass such a wide array of cultures.
I grew up identifying as Chicano, mostly because of how proud my Dad was when he said it. We were raised just outside of Los Angeles, and my Dad would take us out of school on May 1st to attend the May Day rallies in support of undocumented immigrants. He was a union organizer himself, and it felt like I was immersed in an overflowing community of people who looked like me. When I got older, I learned more about some of the not-so-great things in the Chicano movement; mostly the misogyny. I started college, and started identifying as Latinx to be the most inclusive version of myself. But as a non-spanish speaking, third generation, college educated man, I’m learning about how my identifier may not be as inclusive as I thought it would be. So now, I try to be pretty relaxed about how folks identify, and just try to be welcoming.
I'm a first generation immigrant and growing up I considered myself Mexican-American. My extended family would tell me I'm not Mexican enough because I grew up in Austin TX. But my middle school peers would tell me I'm not American enough because my parents were born in Mexico. How can I be Mexican-American if people were telling me I'm neither? The term Chicano, at the time in Austin, was associated with gangs so I never considered it. I identified as Latino as a young adult. These days I've embraced all these labels. I am Mexican-American, I am Chicano, and I am Latino.
I grew up in a very mixed household in Miami. My mother is from Honduras and my father is from Puerto Rico but I have family from Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Colombia as well. I feel blessed to have grown up amongst different cultures. I had always identified as Puerto Rican and Honduran or, to keep it simple for non-Latine folks, Hispanic or Latina. I was always confused about the difference and began doing more research on it as an adult. After learning about the flaws of Latinidad I realized that the terms I had been using were exclusive of my diverse family. Recently I’ve adopted the terms Latinx or Latine because they’re gender neutral but I feel like everyone’s entitled to identify as whatever feels right to them. I understand that this is a very complex topic and that no term will ever fully encompass such a wide variety of peoples and cultures, but I do hope that one day Latinidad will address the issues and help unite our people.
Growing up half Mexican, I was never too sure what I could claim. Having conversations with my father, I learned he had grown up calling himself Chicano on the streets of Los Angeles, and suggested Latina is a fair, general term that I could use to identify myself. As an adult, I’ve seen the tremendous value and allship blossom over non-gendered pronouns, and have now adopted the Latinx terminology wholeheartedly. Spanish is a gendered language at its root, so I understand the kickback in some ways- there is always resistance to change. But mostly I just try to focus on how I can be a better supporter for all in my community. I’m sure we will see more variations to come, and I welcome those too.
If you want to join us and hold conversations and discussions like these, check out our jobs page and help build belonging with us. La Cateterià will be waiting for you.
Further Education on Latinx Communities
Looking for more ways to learn about how you can help your local Latinx community? Check out a few of our favorite organizations dedicated to supporting the Hispanic, Latino and Latina, Chicano and Chicana, and Latinx and Latine communities around the world.
- United We Dream: An organization that empowers people to develop their leadership and organization skills, and run their own campaigns to fight for justice and dignity for immigrants and all people through immigrant youth-led campaigns at the local, state, and federal level.
- SLX Marketplace: A community of brilliant creators and entrepreneurs with rich stories and deeply intentional practices. SLX is curated to highlight the multiplicity of Latinidad and showcase distinctive products that have been made with purpose, love and so much soul.
- League of United Latin American Citizens: LULAC is the largest and oldest Hispanic organization in the US, advancing the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of all Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 1,000 LULAC councils nationwide.
- The Art of Cienna Smith: Cienna is a Mixed Caribbean-American illustrator and visual development artist based in New York City. La Cafetería is a huge fan of Cienna’s work, and you can purchase some prints of your own at Cienna’s INPRNT shop.
- Oasis Legal Services: Oasis Legal Services provides quality legal immigration services to under-represented, low-income groups with a focus on LGBTQIA+ communities. By acknowledging, respecting, and honoring their struggles, the organization empowers immigrants so that dignity grows and integrity blooms.
- Hyphenated Podcast: Comedy stars Joanna Hausmann and Jenny Lorenzo discuss living in the hyphen that connects American and Latin culture. Every week, the two have hilarious and thought-provoking conversations about the particularities of being hyphenated. You can find them on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite Podcast app.
- Latinx in Gaming: A platform to connect with Latinos across the gaming industry, promote cultural appreciation, representation in games/game-related content, and provide a platform for the Latinx community to elevate each other and themselves.
We’d also love to shed light on more voices and stories from the Latinx community alongside our employees. Our friend J. Balvin—who you may have seen in Discord: The Movie—took some time to talk about his music and art, his passion for mental health awareness, the importance of community amongst Latinx people and how resiliency is ingrained in Hispanic culture. Check it out here:
Whether you’ve stuck with the word that fits you for years or you’re still figuring out what feels natural, we hope you have a wonderful Latinx Heritage Month.