Jill Biden has apologised for saying Latinos are “as unique” as San Antonio breakfast tacos during a speech to the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organisation.
“The first lady apologizes that her words conveyed anything but pure admiration and love for the Latino community,” tweeted Mrs Biden’s spokesperson Michael LaRosa.
The first lady flew to San Antonio on Monday to address the annual conference of UnidosUS, a Latino civil rights and advocacy group formerly known as the National Council of La Raza.
But her attempt to compliment Latino diversity did not go over very well when she said that the community is “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”.
Using breakfast tacos to try to demonstrate the uniqueness of Latinos in San Antonio demonstrates a lack of cultural knowledge and sensitivity to the diversity of Latinos in the regionNational Association of Hispanic Journalists
She also badly mispronounced “bodegas”, small stores in urban areas typically specialising in Hispanic groceries.
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and others registered their offence on social media, with the journalists’ organisation tweeting: “We are not tacos.”
“Using breakfast tacos to try to demonstrate the uniqueness of Latinos in San Antonio demonstrates a lack of cultural knowledge and sensitivity to the diversity of Latinos in the region,” the NAHJ said.
The association said the first lady and her speechwriters should “take the time in the future to better understand the complexities of our people and communities”.
Last week, President Joe Biden awarded the former longtime leader of UnidosUS, Raul Yzaguirre, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest honour for a civilian.