First Lady Jill Biden found herself in a bit of hot water on Monday after addressing the UnidosUS conference, a Latino civil rights and advocacy group. Her speech didn’t get the right message across and now, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)is speaking out.
Jill spoke about Latino diversity in her address and got descriptive about how unique the culture is saying it was “as distinct as the bodegas of the Bronx, as beautiful as the blossoms of Miami and as unique as the breakfast tacos here in San Antonio.” Her speech hit a sour note as she mispronounced the word “bodega,” which didn’t help the situation either. Her attempt at complimenting the Latino culture didn’t sit right with NAHJ, who made sure to express their displeasure about the content of her address.
NAHJ encourages @FLOTUS & her communications team to take time to better understand the complexities of our people & communities.
We are not tacos.
Our heritage as Latinos is shaped by various diasporas, cultures & food traditions.
Do not reduce us to stereotypes. pic.twitter.com/KQIq5gwsht
— NAHJ (@NAHJ) July 12, 2022
“NAHJ encourages @FLOTUS & her communications team to take time to better understand the complexities of our people & communities,” they wrote on Twitter. “We are not tacos. Our heritage as Latinos is shaped by various diasporas, cultures & food traditions. Do not reduce us to stereotypes.” The commentary underneath their post also showed mixed reviews of the First Lady’s speech. One user defended Jill, writing, “Learn what an analogy is. She’s not calling you to tacos. She’s saying that you are as unique as breakfast tacos in San Antonio are unique. Breakfast tacos are fairly unique to the mid-south. An education would really help a lot of people in the US to not take offense over nothing.”
The First Lady apologizes that her words conveyed anything but pure admiration and love for the Latino community.
— Michael LaRosa (@MichaelLaRosa46) July 12, 2022
Another user explained why they thought the First Lady’s words were hurtful, sharing, “the analogy is one of the many stereotypes that our community has had to hear for decades. please do not tell us if we should get offended or not. ps, breakfast tacos exist here in the east coast, as well in any other US regions.” The First Lady’s press secretary Michael LaRosa chimed in on Twitter on Tuesday with an apology. He wrote, “The First Lady apologizes that her words conveyed anything but pure admiration and love for the Latino community.” While Jill (and her speechwriting team) likely had good intentions with making the analogy, the speech just didn’t resonate in the way they wanted it to. It’s a lesson learned for the future in making sure that they uplift (not offend) the community they are addressing.
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