Has peak “woke” arrived? The tale of United State First Lady Jill Biden reacting to criticism from an ethnic journalists organization by apologizing for using a simile involving tacos is the kind of humorous satiric story you might find in a Sinclair Lewis novel. It is also reality in America of 2022.
Speaking Monday at the annual conference of UnidosUS, formerly known as the National Council of La Raza, Biden praised the organization’s former longtime leader Raul Yzaguirre, stating that he “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.”
The speech writer deserves bonus points for stringing together three similes that create vivid images and are flattering. The series of similes even has a nice repetition of words beginning with the letter “B” — bodegas, blossoms, breakfast tacos. To boot, the third and final simile is a shout out and complement regarding the city in which the event was taking place — San Antonio, Texas. Nice touch.
Biden badly mispronounced the Spanish, though commonly used by many people in New York City, word “bodegas” when delivering the speech. Most people wouldn’t expect her to have had much experience with bodegas anyway, living in Delaware and Washington, DC and married to a big-time US politician. So that is no biggie. She gave it a try, so good for her. Still, this is the first bit of satire of the story, exemplifying the elite and aloof speaker’s destined to fail attempt to blend in among the common people.
The similes are great. But, this is 2022, and many people just love finding something to complain about no matter how dumb, especially when it also allows them to be “word police” and to cry “racism.”
The evening of Biden’s speech, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) rushed out this response (in all capital letters in the original) of woke fury to Biden’s taco simile:
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.
NAHJ encourages Dr. Biden and her speech writing team to take the time in the future to better understand the complexities of our people and communities.
We are not tacos.
Our heritage as Latinos is shaped by various diasporas, cultures and food traditions, and should not be reduced to a stereotype.
Ay yai yai. Uh-oh, don’t tell NAHJ I wrote that. The interjection comes right to mind when seeing the nonsense on display in the organization’s holier-than-thou response to Biden’s taco simile.
Contrary to the insinuation in NAHJ’s statement, Biden did not call anyone a taco in her speech. She used a simile to declare there is a common aspect shared by both breakfast tacos in San Antonio and the people she was discussing — how unique they are.
In its woke rage, though, the NAHJ statement twists this declaration of the uniqueness of certain people into a declaration by which latinos’ heritage is “reduced to a stereotype.”
Included in the short jargon-filled statement is typical woke condemnation of the targeted person — Biden in this instance — having a “lack of cultural knowledge and sensitivity” coupled with issuance of a demand that the targeted person “take the time in the future to better understand the complexities of our people and communities.” Biden was let off easy. There was no call for boycotting and harassing her. Neither was there a demand that she apologize.
Such caterwauling of insults and demands does nothing to put forward an argument that Biden did anything wrong. But, it is a tried-and-tested method for eliciting groveling responses. And, in this case, Biden obliged. She issued an apology.
Biden’s apology was delivered rather quickly by Michael LaRosa, her press secretary. LaRosa posted the following at Twitter on Tuesday morning: “The First Lady apologizes that her words conveyed anything but pure admiration and love for the Latino community.”
It is not clear what this statement says Biden is apologizing for. But, that seems about right since there was no reality-based complaint against her taco simile to begin with. It is all a clutter of nonsense, reality as satire.