Social Justice Usage
Source: For Folx Sake.
“Folx” is an alternative spelling to the familiar word “folks”. The spelling has been adopted by some communities because it can be used to indicate inclusion of marginalized groups. … Some articles suggest that “folx” is more inclusive because it is gender neutral. This explanation has drawn criticism, as skeptics correctly point out that “folks” is already gender neutral. … The reason we need “folx” in addition to the gender-neutral “folks” is to indicate inclusion of other marginalized groups including people of color (POCs) and trans people. … IS IT WRONG TO USE THE WORD “FOLKS” NOW? Of course not! There is nothing inherently exclusive about the word “folks”. But in certain contexts it can be useful to use the alternative spelling “folx” to symbolize inclusion of POC and trans people.
New Discourses Commentary
Folx is a made-up word that has its origins in queer Theory. It thus appears from activists within Critical Social Justice but usually only within queer contexts, including queer Theoretical scholarship (see also, trans-rights activism). It is clearly a derivation of the word “folks,” which has its own specialized usage and interesting etymology within Critical Social Justice circles (readers are strongly encouraged to see also, folks).
Part of the purpose for the development of the term “folks” within the queer Theory context is to avoid using gendered language to address a crowd, say with phrases like “hey guys” (putatively gender-neutral use of “guys”) or “ladies and gentlemen” (which upholds the sex and/or gender binaries and is therefore exclusive of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming identities – see also, inclusion). “Folks” is therefore offered as a comfortable gender-neutral alternative.
Queer Theory is rarely content with such applications in and of themselves because they are insufficiently disruptive of normativities or may, in fact, end up somehow supporting or maintaining them. Of concern with the term “folks,” for example, is that its translation in some languages is gendered, such as “la gente” in Spanish, which is gendered feminine (see also, phallogocentrism, Derrdiean, and deconstruction). The term “folks” is also used in many different context and thus does not clearly signal one’s queer politics. These are both significant problematics that need to be addressed by queering the language, specifically here through the creation of intentionally political and inherently anti-gendered terms like “folx” (see also, womxn and Latinx). Such a creation solves both problems at once because “folx” is not a word—thus not gendered—in any language, including Esperanto, and thus is only used by people who wish to signify adherence to queer politics.
It’s almost impossible not to see this alternative spelling as both unnecessary and insane. Indeed, it is both. As can be read in the example provided below, one of the reasons that “folks” is not considered gender–inclusive enough is because the wrong kinds of activists (feminists – namely “trans-exclusionary radical feminists”) have started using “folks” in keeping with standard Critical Social Justice usage, so the right kinds of activists need an alternative term that distinguishes them from the more problematic activists (see also, non-consensual co-platforming). Apparently, although the use of the word “folks” in Critical Social Justice is profoundly influenced by origins in black feminist and critical race Theory thought, queer Theorists (who are the centers of their own worlds) seem unaware of this longer, deeper etymology. In a show of “true” solidarity, then, they have graciously extended the use of the word “folx” to people of color, possibly presumably because the word “folks” is commonly used by (white supremacist, racist, culturally racist, anti-black) white conservatives.
See also – Folks
Anti-Blackness; Binary; Critical; Cultural racism; Deconstruction; Derridean; Disrupt; Exclusion; Feminism; Folks; Gender; Gender (v.); Gender non-conforming; Identity; Inclusion; Latinx; Man; Non-binary; Non-consensual co-platforming; Normativity; People of color; Phallogocentrism; Problematic; Queer; Queer (v.); Queer Theory; Racism (systemic); Sex; Social Justice; Theory; Solidarity; Transgender; Trans-exclusionary radical feminist; Trans-rights activism; White supremacy; Woman; Womxn; Womyn
Source: For Folx Sake
For people who belong to these marginalized groups, inclusion cannot be taken for granted. If you want to indicate to those groups that you mean to include them, using the word “folx” can be useful shorthand. One example of how some people use an exclusionary verion of the word “folks” is Trans-Exclusion Radical Feminists (TERFs). These women, calling themselves feminists, fight for the rights of only women who were assigned female at birth (AFAB). In addition, they often willfully ignore the needs of women of color.
Revision date: 5/20/20