Jill Biden Slammed for Comparing Latinos to Tacos

'We are not tacos,' Hispanic journalists group responds to FLOTUS speech, blasting 'stereotypes'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2022 9:25 AM CDT
Jill Biden Slammed for Comparing Latinos to Tacos
First lady Jill Biden speaks as she tours a health facility on July 1, 2022, in Richmond, Va.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

On Monday, Jill Biden spoke in San Antonio at the UnidosUS Annual Conference, one of the Hispanic community's largest gatherings on issues such as housing, health care, civil rights, and education. But the first lady's speech didn't go over well with everyone, drawing backlash for what some say was a reliance on a well-worn stereotype. "The diversity of this community—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—is your strength," Biden told the crowd during a presentation on equity, per the Hill. Insider notes that Biden mispronounced "bodegas" (see a clip here), but the bigger issue turned out to be her reference to morning sustenance in the Alamo City.

"We are not tacos," the National Association of Hispanic Journalists said in a statement regarding Biden's words. "Our heritage as Latinos is shaped by various diasporas, cultures & food traditions. Do not reduce us to stereotypes." The Democratic first lady also saw some backlash from observers in the GOP. Newly elected Texas Rep. Mayra Flores posted a GIF that referenced an older Biden speech, in which she botched the pronunciation of "Si, se puede" ("Yes, we can"), per Fox News. "What Joe Biden and family think about the Hispanic Community," Flores wrote in her tweet.

Fox notes that support for Biden's husband among Hispanic Americans fell to 26% in a Quinnipiac poll in May; in the same poll last year, Biden was at 55% with that group. Janet Murguia, president of the UnidosUS nonprofit, went to bat for Jill Biden in a later tweet. "So honored to host @FLOTUS at our Annual Conference today in San Antonio," Murguia posted. "She has been a great educator in, and a great amiga to, our community for years. Privileged to call her a friend." Still, the NAHJ has a further message for Biden after the hubbub, noting in its statement that it "encourages @FLOTUS & her communications team to take time to better understand the complexities of our people & communities." (Read more Jill Biden stories.)

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