Use of the @ Symbol
With the virtual uses and changing of language online it’s important we note how we are using the @ symbol in our name and in the things we are creating and writing. For many of you this is “common knowledge,” but the reality is that some folks have not ever really thought about why this symbol is important.
We think the @ symbol is important because it represents gender neutrality, gender inclusion, and disrupts the misogynistic ways language privileges men, masculinity, and things that are considered “male.”As many Latin@ scholars have stated and argued, especially Anzaldua, “Language is a male discourse” (p. 54, Borderlands/La Frontera). In the Spanish language, grammatically, if there is one man present in a room or area filled with women (a man of any age, a boy, a child, etc.) instead of using the “feminine” form of the language often using an “a” (i.e. una or nosotras) a masculine “o” is used (i.e. nosotros or the absence of the “a” such as un).
Utilizing the @ in this way challenges these grammatical “rules” that are embedded in a legacy of privileging men, masculinity and maleness. It is also part of a legacy that includes and recognizes our gender queer and trans* community members versus erasing them by constantly using a language embedded in a gender binary/dichotomy.
The @ is useful not only in discussing Latinidad, but also discussing how Blackness and African identity intersects as well. Often when we see terms discussing LatiNegr@s in various ways and using other self-identifiers they are still using a masculine version of “Afro” such as “Afro-Latin@”. This is a preference by some, and I’d like to argue this is also a way of privileging men and masculinity in the English language. Afr@Latin@ is a valid term and form to use when discussing our identities as well. Just as AfraLatina is valid. Why must the African in us also remain masculine?
The questions still exist of how to actually speak the @ sign and this has yet to really be resolved. How have others negotiated this?
(written by Bianca)
Now I know.
While y’all were staying BOSTONSTRONG, a torch was quietly passed.
Adam Dunn passed Dave Kingman on the career home run list.
Way to go, Bubba.