Everyone keeps praising Eva Longoria’s speech, but it completely missed the mark for me. Huffington Post called it “powerful,” and Latinx publications have been praising that moment when she said that her family in Texas did not cross the border, but that the border crossed them.
Yet this statement is not new, this has been stated and restated by Chicanxs since the 70s and 80s. What was actually unique to her narrative—not a piggyback on other people—only perpetuated the same problematic stereotypes used to justify all the hate and vitriol that Trump and Trump supporters throw our way. She perpetuated colonial mentality and her speech was drenched in respectability politics.
She spoke about how her father is a veteran and her mother worked as a special education teacher, and NOT the rapists and murderers that Trump talks about when he generalizes the Latinx population. However, in elevating her parents and moving them away from THOSE other people she completely forgets and dodges the problem of the criminalization of Black and brown people.
She does not address that for some people—a lot of people that look and talk like her—it is not a choice: they are shuffled into the system from elementary school. By not addressing this problem, which Hillary Clinton has a hand in creating, she perpetuated the idea that SOME of us actually do “good” and therefore are worthy of praise.
As if all people don't deserve hope and a chance to live better lives. As if a rap sheet makes you less human, as if having a criminal past makes you less deserving of a better life, as if people are not products of shitty contexts.
We need to say this more, and we need to say this OFTEN: I do not care if you are the second hand of Satanas, you are deserving of a better life and migration is a human right because of what U.S. interventions have done to our countries, to our ancestors, to our national pride and to our families.
All of these lands belonged to OUR people, and borders were created by the visitors that now call themselves citizens.
Eva, the border did cross your ancestors but that does not mean you get to encourage us to vote for a nominee who has had a hand in deporting our sisters and brothers without blinking an eye.
You called yourself American, and there is nothing powerful nor subversive about that. You were born of a proud people whose very dignity was and is constantly stripped by these so-called Americans. Call yourself Chicana, call yourself Mexican-American, call yourself Mexican on conquered land, but by calling yourself American you have stripped yourself of your signifiers.
You have told them you are good enough to become them, but we should never have to prove ourselves to them. We should never have to list our accolades for them to see us. Let them see us because we are people and people matter. Let them see us because despite being American, we still matter. That is revolutionary, and that is something that Hillary does not seem to understand. The America-first agenda is problematic and scary.
Eva, you ended your speech by saying that America is “already pretty great,” so as to stick it to Trump, and as a foreign-citizen I was disgusted. This idea that America is great or needs to go back to being great is disgusting because it is that mentality that keeps enslaving my people under NAFTA and CAFTA.
This mentality keeps the school to prison pipeline alive, where these same private prisons then make the Black and brown men and women who are in their prison work for pennies an hour to clean our cities. America has never been great, due to the exploitation of people of color and poor people.
Eva, do not forget us in your haughty power climb, because despite our wishes and desires you still represent us in those very powerful stages.
Overall the DNC is full of white feminism, tokenism, and respectability politics. I actually felt like I was watching the "Suffragettes" movie, but the desperation that was conveyed was ill-placed in this period and proved yet again how prioritization of the white American agenda is crucial to this country. But what it really means is that no one else matters as much as the U.S. does.
I don't feel either inspired or excited—like the DNC really wanted us to feel—instead, I feel erased and force-fed.
Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez is the founder of Latina Rebels.