Michael Kovac, Getty Images
One statistic stood out most in the 2020 election exit polls: Black women overwhelmingly showed up for Joe Biden. According to data from The New York Times, 91% of Black women voted for now President-elect Biden compared to 43% of white women and 70% of Latina women. So, when Eva Longoria seemed to give primary credit to Latina women for helping defeat Donald Trump in the election, Twitter was quick to fact-check her.
In an MSNBC interview, news anchor Ari Melber asked Longoria to speak on what it means to see that women of color were so instrumental in Biden's win—and her answer seemed to pin Black women against Latina women.
"The women of color showed up in a big way. Of course you saw in Georgia what Black women have done, but the Latina women were the real heroines here, beating men in turnout in every state and voting for Biden/Harris at an average rate close to 3:1," Longoria said. (NYT data shows that 70% of Latina women voted for Biden compared to 61% of Latino men.)
Eva Longoria to @AriMelber on the impact of Latina women: “That spirit and perseverance that Latinas use in their daily life, the struggle to pay their bills and the struggle to show up to their jobs … that’s the same perseverance and spirit they used to show up to the polls,” pic.twitter.com/BiATbXbaeG
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) November 9, 2020
Many people on Twitter were rightfully upset that Longoria's wording seemed to discredit the work of Black women in order to uplift Latina women. "People always have to mention black people in everything," one Twitter user wrote. "The truth is black women delivered Biden and Harris their win. She could’ve congratulated Latino women without lying and bringing black women down. Also, the erasure of Afro-Latinos is telling."
Another Twitter user responded to Longoria's comments "as a fellow Latina," correcting her statements. "It was black women who were the heroes of the election. It’s a fact," she wrote.
Others argued that Longoria was simply trying to praise the turnout of Latina women compared to Latino men—though the impact of her phrasing still came off as her harmfully putting down Black women.
I think what she meant (and people dissecting it aren’t hearing it how she meant it) was that Latina women were heroes because they voted more than 3 to 1 more than Latin men. Ie: women were the heroes of the Latino community. She wasn’t putting down black women.
— Tangled Web (@Presleytal) November 9, 2020
Since the backlash about her comments spread, Longoria has shared an apology via Twitter.
"I'm sorry and sad to hear that my comments on MSNBC could be perceived as taking credit from Black women," she wrote. "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. 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."
Longoria continued, writing that she wanted to be very clear about the fact that she knows Black women have long been the backbone of the Democratic Party and that she wants other women of color to stand with them. She also acknowledged, as some had pointed out in response to the interview, that Latina and Black women are not mutually exclusive groups and many women proudly identify as Afro Latina.
"Together, we are unstoppable!" she wrote. "Nothing but love and support for black women everywhere! You deserve a standing ovation!!!!"