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Eva Longoria's comments ignite conversation about unity among minorities

By:
Gurshabad Kang (@gurshabadkang)

Eva Longoria recently made comments on MSNBC regarding US presidential election results, and her comments were criticized for allegedly diminishing the efforts of Black women during the election. 

Longoria said, "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."

Since then, Longoria has apologized, and recognized how her remarks can be perceived as dismissive and painful to 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…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"

She issued the apology via her Twitter, and also made appearances on television platforms further holding herself accountable. In an attempt to cancel "cancel culture", the collective response to her apology has been positive; she has been praised for her candor and accountability.

This incident has brought forward the discussion of solidarity among minority groups. Pitting minorities against one another is an oppressive tactic that can unfortunately be seen internalized among minorities themselves.

There is evidence of lasting psychological trauma that is caused by experiencing oppression over generations (ie. imposter syndrome). This trauma is being weaponized against the victims to further repress them in an unspoken manner.

Today’s political and economical structures tactfully marginalize minorities, and create unnecessary competition by perpetuating the belief that there is limited success and representation available to utilize.

It is difficult to move in these spaces without internalizing such ideals, especially because this kind of oppression is overt and less visible, therefore almost impossible to identify precisely and call out.

Dominant groups benefit from the divide and conquer rhetoric that minorities often unintentionally fall prey to. We are doing the dirty work of the powerful by fighting and dismissing one another for a seat at the table, instead of fighting internalized racism and validating each other's experiences. 

We need to recognize the uniqueness of each other's struggles while finding solidarity in the experience. The concept of intersectionality is bringing communities together to re-conceptualize power by highlighting that race and gender categories, along with identity, sexuality, age, class and ability, have social, political, and economic implications.

However, intersectionality is not about highlighting the differences, but more about using the differences to offer unique perspectives for working towards a practice of solidarity among those interested in advancing social justice.

Oppression is interlocked and it marginalizes all minorities, just in different ways. Oppression is still a common experience, even if it is experienced differently, and that should evoke empathy and solidarity for other minorities also fighting the good fight.

There is strength in numbers, so let's stop invalidating each other's experiences and empower one another, to recognize that oppression is a common enemy.

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