In a world where you can be anything, First Lady Jill Biden’s team thought the most complimentary comparison for Latinos was to that of breakfast tacos.
Comparing Latinos to the TexMex staple somehow passed many channels to get the final stamp of approval for the speech she delivered at the UnidosUS conference in San Antonio this week. The lifelong teacher and wife to President Joe Biden definitely left us feeling very WTF after a video of the First lady emerged showing her struggle through the word “bodega,” pronouncing it “bógedas” and then closing with the taco comparison.
Too much convincing isn’t necessary to know that comparing people to food is probably not the best practice, let alone not taking the time to ensure you can pronounce something before launching into a speech in front of hundreds of people who probably know how to say those words well.
The First Lady might have made the ignorant taco comment with good intentions, but it came across as anything but.
\u201cSeveral people wrote, revised, and edited that speech before they let it come out of her mouth in front of a room filled with Latinos and genuinely thought it was a good idea.\n\nThe standard for our white elected officials (Republicans and Democrats alike) is in hell.\u201d— Stephanie Paz (@Stephanie Paz) 1657637325
An apology was issued the day after the speech via a spokesperson for the First Lady, but that didn’t stop the National Association of Hispanic Journalists from calling her out directly via a statement:
\u201cNAHJ encourages @FLOTUS & her communications team to take time to better understand the complexities of our people & communities.\n\nWe are not tacos.\n\nOur heritage as Latinos is shaped by various diasporas, cultures & food traditions. \n\nDo not reduce us to stereotypes.\u201d— NAHJ (@NAHJ) 1657584249
Conservative media and the political right are having a field day with the video, ignoring their wealth of hypocrisy when they don’t criticize the rampant hate and vilification of Latinos by Republican politicians and commentators. Their hypocritical coverage is expected, but the other question is why there isn’t more criticism from the left after decades of Latinos being dismissed, ignored, and taken advantage of by the Democratic party.
No one can argue that the First Lady doesn’t care about the Latino community. She clearly cares more than, say, former First Lady Melania Trump. However, the lack of care to research and understand the Latino community beyond these superficial stereotypes is disappointing and exhausting, and quite frankly, we’re tired of it.
What would the left and Latino groups say if a conservative politician had made the same remarks? Although we admit that in today’s times something like this from a conservative politician’s mouth would be rather benign after the growing mountain of worse things they say.
At the end of the day, this isn’t a race to the bottom is it?
Just because the conservative right has lowered the bar to such an extreme low, it certainly doesn’t excuse someone from the left from at least trying to pronounce a word correctly or come up with a comparison more meaningful than a food group (and yes, tacos are food groups, fight us on that later). If they are going to pander, can they at least pander with just a little bit of gusto, no?
You can watch the First Lady’s speech below.
Jill Biden compares Latinos to tacos youtu.be