Why Would a Taiwanese Mayor Speak Spanish?*

At a Democratic primary election event held in New Hampshire on Jan. 23, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, who was calling for people to vote for President Joe Biden in the November, spoke to reporters in Spanish.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who is of Cuban descent, is notable for speaking Spanish, but Wu is a second-generation Taiwanese immigrant. I thought that this was an unexpected combination, but when asked if she routinely speaks Spanish, Wu responded that while Spanish is not her native language, she uses it when she feels that it is appropriate.

About 8% of people in the Boston metropolitan area speak Spanish. While not thought to be absolutely necessary, Wu’s practice of speaking to others in Spanish as well demonstrates a belief in not failing to hear minority voices.

From early childhood, Wu helped her parents, who struggled with English, and even after she became a working adult, she often took care of her older siblings. While the goodness of her personal character is certainly not a guarantee of her administrative skills, I think that this episode calls to mind where her political position of showing warmth to newcomers comes from.

I also like the thought of this personal history of a child of immigrants becoming the mayor of a major city, living the all-American dream. It gives the sense that even now, as many talented people from all around the world come to the U.S. and are given a chance at active participation, the good American tradition is still alive.

*Editor’s Note: Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is a Taiwanese American.

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About Dorothy Phoenix 106 Articles
Dorothy is an independent video game developer, software engineer, technical writer, and tutor, with experience teaching students how to program and make games. In addition to programming and video games, Dorothy also enjoys studying Japanese language and culture. One of her goals is to exhibit a game at the Tokyo Game Show someday.

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