by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
First Lady Jill Biden has no discernible animosity, ill will, or hatred toward Latinos.
What Jill Biden does have is a certain tone-deafness and presumptuousness toward them — and likely toward lots of other people — along with far too much confidence that every word that drips from her lips is a gift on par with manna from heaven. This is a trait she shares with her husband.
Jill Biden’s prepared remarks at the 2022 UnidosUS Annual Conference in San Antonio on Monday included this paragraph: “Raul [Yzaguirre] helped build this organization with the understanding that 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.”
Except she pronounced “bodegas” as “bogodas.” Bodegas, blossoms, and breakfast tacos are all rather clichéd examples of American Latino culture; I suppose we should be thankful she didn’t add, “and as fast as Speedy Gonzalez.” Beyond that, the metaphor doesn’t really work. … It would have been bad enough if she said it off the cuff, but this was part of Biden’s prepared remarks, meaning it had been written, and approved, by an allegedly professional speechwriter. …
… There was a time, not that long ago, when the National Association of Hispanic Journalists would have chalked up Jill Biden’s ill-considered comments as the harmless verbal flourish of a 71-year-old woman who grew up in the ’50s and ’60s in white neighborhoods in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The group would have averted its eyes and not issued a statement; no need to build up friction with someone who, on paper, is an ally.
Clearly, the NAHJ is exasperated from always being expected to play along and just pretend they didn’t hear what they just heard.