While discussing the outcome of the presidential election in an interview with MSNBC, Eva Longoria said Latinas were the “real heroines” of this election, not Black women.
Longoria later clarified her statements on Instagram, saying she intended to compare Latina women to Latino men in regard to their political efforts. Although she said in her interview Latina women had higher voter turnout in every state compared to men, the distinction wasn’t clear enough.
Her statement not only overlooked the Afro-Latinx community and discounted the political activism of Black women, but plainly ignored the realities of this election.
Latinx people in Texas helped President Donald Trump win the state in this year’s presidential election, and they did the same in Florida.
As a Mexican student in the United States, I am ashamed to even point this out. However, we must recognize this truth if we have any intention of doing better. Many people would make the same mistake as Longoria without knowing the statistics behind Trump’s victory in these swing states.
Saying Latinas are the real heroes of this election is a slap in the face to all the Black activists and organizers who have been voting blue and helping others register.
Longoria’s statements, along with the election results in Texas and Florida, show the deep-rooted history of anti-Blackness, discrimination and prejudice within Latinx communities.
The marginalized identity of a group doesn’t exempt it from perpetuating harm, nor does it exempt individuals from benefiting off their proximity to whiteness.
The Latinx identity is complicated, but one thing is clear: Latinx is an ethnicity, not a race. There are Black Latinx people, white Latinx people, brown Latinx people, Asian Latinx people, Arab Latinx people and so on.
Non-Black Latinx people — particularly white Latinx individuals such as Longoria — can and do perpetuate anti-Blackness.
Regarding this issue, poet and activist Alán Lopez tweeted, “At the core, Ev* L*ng*r**’s comment alludes to the fantasy of a monolithic latinidad that will never have the best interest of Black women (& Black people-at-large) in mind.”
Any meaningful fight to end systems of oppression and address Latinx issues requires abolishing anti-Blackness. As Lopez wrote on Twitter, “When Latinxs fight against xenophobia in the U.S. but not the abolition of anti-Blackness, what is actually being done is fighting for non-Black power and inclusion as opposed to liberation.”
For instance, immigration has long been seen as a central issue to the Latinx community.
But, few acknowledge the ways in which the already-oppressive and inhumane immigration forces in our country disproprotionately target and imprison Black immigrants.
Black immigrants are more likely to face deportation, according to a 2016 report by the New York University Immigrant Rights Clinic. They account for only 7 percent of the non-citizen U.S. population, but account for 20 percent of immigrants who face deportation due to criminal charges.
African and Carribean immigrants constitute 24 percent of solitary confinement stays, when Black detainees are only 4 percent of those in custody, according to a recent study by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
I am aware that by canceling white Latinx people, I may also be canceling myself. But to truly be anti-racist, we must cancel and dismantle the toxic structures that prevent us from seeing how we perpetuate anti-Blackness and are complicit in our country’s corrupt and violent systems.