Eva Longoria's 'skid' on the 'heroic' role of Latinas in Biden's election
Her comments came after a well-deserved tribute to the work of Black women in the election. But Longoria was quick to apologize.
It is wise to recognize a mistake. And in a hotly contested election where democracy costs so much, any celebration of Joe Biden's victory must not only seek to reconcile a divided society, but do so from a position of respect and visibility for its protagonists.
In this case, the credit goes to Black women in the United States, who turned out en masse to support Joe Biden and whom Vice President Kamala Harris dedicated her moving speech on Saturday night.
However, one day after the tribute, actress, director, producer, and activist Eva Longoria appeared on MSNBC with Ari Melber to give her view on the election and celebrate the victory. Only she did it her way, providing a very different story of to who the Democrats owe their victory.
"Democracy won," Longoria said, praising the role played by the Black and Brown communities that voted for Biden and rejected the fact that a large number of Latinos voted for Donald Trump.
"It's not the narrative that has to be out there. Latinos did a great job for Biden," he said, adding that if the Democrats won Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan it was "because of Latinos."
Up to that point, everything can be understood as part of Eva Longoria's fight to make visible the importance of Hispanics in the country, but she decided to take her anger a little further and insinuated that Latinas were more key to Biden's victory than Black women.
"Of course you saw in Georgia what Black women have done, but Latino women are the real heroes here, beating men in turnout in every state and voting for Biden-Harris at an average rate of about 3 to 1," she said.
The reaction from the social media was immediate and many criticized the actress for not taking Harris' speech into account and turning a celebration into a 'see who can do it best' instead of building bridges and uniting citizens.
Longoria has been quick to respond with an official statement and tweeted an apology for her comments which, she said, "are perceived as a takeover of Black women."
Some were unwilling to accept her apology and called it "a disappointment."
“Women of color showed up in big ways. Of course, you saw in Georgia what Black women have done but Latina women are the *real* heroines here.” - Eva Longoria, what?pic.twitter.com/8m8aFd0ZnT
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) November 9, 2020
The data must always prevail over particular impressions. According to exit polls, while 70% of Latinas supported Joe Biden, 91% of African-American women did so as well. And both are relevant percentages.
The problem is not to highlight one group, congratulate oneself for its massive support, or deny that there are Latino Republican voters, but to downplay the importance of Black voters, especially in states like Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin, where they tipped the balance. For an example, one should look no farther than Detroit, Michigan, which flipped the state thanks to the mass turnout of Black voters that far outnumber Latino voters there.
In fact, half the world is already talking about how African-American activist and former candidate for Governor of Georgia Stacey Abrams propelled the Democratic win in Georgia by challenging a Republican hegemony that had lasted more than two decades and awakening southern Black voters.
But is it worth generating more tension? The choice of words is important, especially if someone is, like Eva Longoria, a public figure. But there is also our individual responsibility not to add more fuel to the fire in an age when it burns fast, While we have a legitimate right to express our displeasure, to discredit a person for a wrong comment at the wrong time is to ignore everything facing us. Longoria decided to dedicate herself to fighting for her community and investing in it.
To remain in the story would be to impoverish the message she has been giving behind and in front of the cameras, and her commitment to greater diversity and justice that with Biden's victory is expected to be for all and true.