First Lady Jill Biden gave a speech in California yesterday that is drawing attention, but not for the reason Biden was likely intending or hoping for. FLOTUS joined California Gov. Gavin Newsom in Delano, CA and delivered what was intended to be an uplifting and respectful message of solidarity to farmworkers on Cesar Chavez’s birthday (via Fox News). Chavez was a Latin American civil rights activist and considered a transformational labor leader. He dedicated his life to fighting for improved working and living conditions for farm workers (via History.com).
The slip-up came when Jill Biden attempted to share a message of strength in Spanish. The First Lady attempted to say, “”¡Sí Se Puede!” which translates to “Yes, we can!” in English. But unfortunately, her pronunciation left quite a bit to be desired, and neither the audience nor the internet missed it. As is typical, social media had a field day.
Twitter was unimpressed by Jill Biden's speech
While it was, of course, an admirable idea for Dr. Jill Biden to speak to her audience in what is, for many of them, their native language, it seems she would have benefited from some guidance on how to properly pronounce the phrase before she attempted it. Twitter has been unforgiving in the face of her poor delivery. One user tweeted, “Jill Biden makes Peggy Hill sound like a native Spanish speaker,” making a joke about the famous character from animated sitcom King of the Hill. Another person tweeted, “What better way to wrap #CesarChavezDay than with Co-President Dr. Jill Biden butchering ‘Sí Se Puede’ while standing in front of Chávez’ black eagle.”
A third Twitter user shared his frustration, implying the First Lady was pandering to her audience, writing, “Can someone tell Jill Biden that ‘We’ Hispanics speak English and she can’t f****** speak Spanish?” In short, people weren’t impressed. We imagine in the future, Jill Biden may seek advice from a native speaker of a given language for pronunciation perfection before proceeding.
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