Cynthia M. Allen: Jill Biden’s ‘taco’ line reads like one of her husband’s hits
Summary: As I wrote two months ago, the president’s support among Latinos has been flagging, dropping well below his support among other demographics.
There’s a theory in psychology called empathic mimicry, which postulates that over the course of a relationship, a couple’s shared empathy may ultimately cause its members to start resembling one another.
I can’t say that this phenomenon of physical similarity is present in the White House, but based on the first lady’s speech in San Antonio on July 11, it at least appears that Dr. Jill Biden is imitating her husband’s propensity for cringe-worthy remarks.
Speaking before the UnidosUS 2022 Annual Conference “Latinx IncluXion” Luncheon, the first lady referred to “the diversity of [the Latino] 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.”
If there was an award for most bad cliches in a single sentence, this would be in the running.
She wasn’t riffing, either.
Someone (presumably since demoted) wrote those words, and the first lady gladly delivered them, even pronouncing bodegas as “bogodas.”
Move over, Michael Scott.
In his career, Joe Biden has gotten away with all manner of off-color or culturally insensitive remarks. His assertion to Black voters in 2012 that Republicans would “put y’all back in chains,” comes to mind.
On this one, the first lady received pushback.
“Using breakfast tacos to try to demonstrate the uniqueness of Latinos in San Antonio represents a lack of cultural knowledge and sensitivity to the diversity of Latinos in the region,” tweeted the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
“We are not tacos,” the group added.
If recent polls are any indication, “We are not tacos” might be code for: “We are not happy with your husband.”
As I wrote two months ago, the president’s support among Latinos has been flagging, dropping well below his support among other demographics.
And Latino Republican candidates are growing in number and stature.
They’re having increased success, too.
This includes the special election victory in South Texas, of Mayra Flores, a Mexico-born Republican who took 51 percent of the vote in one of the most Latino congressional districts in the country — one where Democrats have dominated for years.
The first lady apologized, and the Hispanic journalism group accepted it. The gaffe won’t have any discernible impact on the Latino community’s electoral support of her husband. That will take care of itself.
But it’s more evidence that the Biden administration’s appreciation for the diversity of the Latino community — which includes a growing number of conservatives — is superficial.
No, they are not tacos. They’re not all woke Democrats, either.
Cynthia M. Allen is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Readers may send her email at email@example.com .
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