Fox News Host Mocks Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Spanish Pronunciation Of Her Name As “Latina Thing”
It’s not news that conservatives aren’t a fan of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — and not just because they don’t agree with her policies. They criticize her dancing, facial expressions, aesthetic and, now, the pronunciation of her own name.
On Tuesday night, Fox News host Laura Ingraham asked conservative lawyer Joe diGenova during a segment of her show Ingraham Angle if he had noticed that the Bronx congresswoman “put on” an accent when saying her name.
“She does the Latina thing where she does her, you know, ‘Anastasio Ocasio-Cortez,’” diGenova responded, mocking the congressional freshman by botching her first name and exaggerating the pronunciation of her surname. The former U.S. attorney took his prejudiced joke further by uttering his own name with an emphasized Italian accent.
Ocasio-Cortez responded to the host and her guest’s offensive conversation Wednesday evening on Twitter.
“If by ‘the Latina thing,’ she means I actually do the work instead of just talk about it, then yeah, I’m doing ‘the Latina thing,'” she wrote. “Unless of course she’s talking about being multilingual, which we know isn’t a ‘Latina thing.’ It’s a ‘21st century’ thing.”
She’s right. Across the US, more than 66 million people, or 21.8 percent of the nation, speak a language that isn’t English at home. Even more, in the five largest cities in the country, half the population speak another tongue. But before the “Speak English, this is America” crowd — a strange effort to advocate for in a country that actually has no official language — hurls another attack on a Spanish-speaker, they should know that 80 percent of those who speak another language at home are also proficient in English.
Ocasio-Cortez also mocked the Fox pair for their outrage over someone pronouncing their name correctly.
“How dare they refuse to say their name in a wrong accent & not mangle their own family name so that I can feel more comfortable instead of look inside myself & examine why something as small as *a person’s name* makes me uncomfortable in the first place?? This is an outrage,” she tweeted.
The New York-born politician of Puerto Rican descent then gave Ingraham and diGenova an accelerated lesson on Spanish surnames.
“My last name is Ocasio-Cortez. Full stop. That’s my name. No, you can’t say ‘Cortez.’ I’ve never used that in my life. ‘Cortez’ is referring to someone else,” she said.
The congresswoman continued: “For the curious, in Latinx culture children take *both* their parents’ names. It’s not a ‘progressive, new thing.’ It’s just how some names work.”
While Ocasio-Cortez is right that in many Latin American countries people take both their parents’ last names, she did erroneously say that in Puerto Rico, where her mother was born, the two surnames are automatically hyphenated. This is more common among Puerto Ricans and Latinxs in the US, who hyphenate the two names to avoid one of them being confused as a middle name.
Mocking Ocasio-Cortez’s pronunciation of her own name is just the latest unusual attack on the congresswoman, who Ingraham also referred to as “the It Girl and “the juice” of the Democratic Party. But the political newcomer, who today graces the cover of TIME, remains unfazed, turning every strange blow from opponents into an opportunity for education.
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