Actress and Latina activist Eva Longoria appeared Sunday on MSNBC to discuss the importance of women and people of color in President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the recent presidential election.
Longoria told MSNBC’s Ari Melber: “The women of color showed up in big ways. Of course, you saw in Georgia what Black women have done but Latina women were the real heroines here, beating men in turnout in every state and voting Biden-Harris at an average rate of close to 3 to 1. And that wasn’t surprising to us.”
The former Desperate Housewives star’s comments ignited a firestorm of criticism on social media from many people across the country who viewed her words as a swipe at Black women intended to gloss over and diminish the importance of their role in the outcome of the election.
After widespread backlash, Longoria issued an apology and clarification of her on-air comments on Twitter.
“I’m so sorry and sad to hear that my comments on MSNBC could be perceived as taking credit from Black women. When I said that Latinas were heroines in this election, I simply meant that they turned out in greater numbers and voted more progressively than LATINO MEN,” her tweet read. “My wording was not clear and I deeply regret that, There is such a history in our community of anti-Blackness in our community and I would never want to contribute to that, so let me be very clear: Black women have long been the backbone of the Democratic Party, something we have seen played out in this election as well as previous ones.”
Longoria added: “Finally, Black women shouldn’t have to do it alone. Latinas, many who identify as Afro Latina, and other women of color are standing with them so we can grow our collective voice and power. Together we are unstoppable! Again, so sorry for the confusion and lack of context on my part!”
Actress Kerry Washington retweeted Longoria’s statement along with a message that read, “I know Eva like a sister. We have been in many trenches together. She is a fighter for all women.”
Unstoppable!!! Black women turned out 90% for Biden. I as a Latina, aspire to be as engaged as effective as they are!
— Eva Longoria Baston (@EvaLongoria) November 9, 2020
Even so, for many, Longoria’s apology rings hollow. Although she did point out that Latina woman voted at higher rates than men, that certainly doesn’t make them the “real” heroines.
Sure, Democrats, including Biden, did well with a broad block of Latino and Hispanic women voters across the country, with high turnout among Mexican-Americans in Arizona and Nevada and Arizona, in addition to broad support from Latinos in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
But the truth is, 91 percent of Black women voted for Joe Biden during the election, compared with roughly 70 percent of Latina voters who backed the soon-to-be President, according an NBC News exit poll.
It’s also undeniable that there were a number of game-changing African-American women on the frontlines of the 2020 election, who helped push Biden into the Oval Office.
Women like Stacy Abrams, who following her unsuccessful run for governor of Georgia in 2018, mobilized a grassroots campaign to fight voter suppression that helped register hundreds of thousands of Black voters, leading Republican-leaning Georgia’s shift to blue for the first time since 1992 — earning praise of everyone from Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis to president-elect Joe Biden.
Then there’s LaTosha Brown, co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund. Under her leadership, the organization that has worked in Black communities to increase voter registration and turnout in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Of course, we can’t forget that Kamala Harris, the first Black woman to reach the second-highest office in the U.S., who hosted real-world and virtual voter mobilization events in cities including Detroit and Milwaukee, in two states that, largely due to Black women voter turnout, returned to democratic hands in the 2020 election.
Finally, there are unsung heroines like Leah Aden, deputy director of litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, who has fought voter suppression across the nation, particularly in states with large populations of Black and Brown voters, with the impact of her work being felt in African-American, Latinx, Asian-American and Native American communities.
Thanks to them and the tireless efforts of numerous, little-known African-American women who worked hard to boost the Black vote in cities and states across the country, Biden had a successful run.
So remember, Eva, acknowledging the impact and accomplishments of Hispanic, Latino or any other group of women doesn’t requiring tearing down Black women, who tend to vote at higher rates than ANY other demographic and make up the Democratic Party’s most loyal voting group.
Kamala Harris summed it up nicely in a tweet on Monday, writing “I want to speak directly to the Black women in our country. Thank you. You are too often overlooked, and yet are asked time and again to step up and be the backbone of our democracy. We could not have done this without you.”