Sebastien De La Cruz’ rendering of the national anthem has sparked a racist debate.
De la Cruz sang at Game 3 of the National Basketball Association (NBA) finals on Tuesday in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas, and was honored with the obligatory applause. However, outside of the stadium, a much darker cloud rained down on the young man’s performance; social media posters immediately began posting comments relating to his heritage and questioning whether or not he should have been singing the national anthem at all.
The comments ranged from questioning his heritage, “Why they got a Mexican kid singing the national anthem – ___ -” Daniel Gilmore. (huffingtonpost.com)
To accusations, “How you singing the national anthem looking like an illegal immigrant,” Andre Lacey, proud father and firefighter from Augusta, Georgia. (huffingtonpost.com)
And from Matt Cyrus, “Who let this illegal alien sing our national anthem?” (huffingtonpost.com)
Finally, outright posters called out whoever made the decision to allow young De La Cruz to sing, “Why is a foreigner singing our national anthem. I realize that’s San Antonio but that still ain’t Mexico,” from Lewie Groh. (huffingtonpost.com)
Set aside the poor grammar, the debate grew hot; sparks flew and tempers flared. While the pre-teen was not daunted by the comments, there were Americans on the other side of the heated topic who felt just as strongly.
A blog called Public Shaming posted some of the most racist tweets on their site; 28 were highlighted as being ashamed and offended that the Spurs had selected De La Cruz to perform the national anthem at the event. As Public Shaming had expected, once the tweets were made public, there was a backlash of support for the boy and the accounts associated with them were deactivated or the posts were removed.
Some of the supporting tweets, however, had racially sparked bias in them as well, showing how deeply rooted the issue is in America.
“That little 10 year old mariachi National Anthem singer has more talent and grace than the combined racist pig idiots on Twitter,” from Mexican-American cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz. (huffingtonpost.com)
“Why are ppl so upset over a Hispanic singing the national anthem. He’s probably got more roots in here than most ‘Americans’,” Amanda Aguirre via Twitter. (huffingtonpost.com)
Laura Gonzales, Chicana Santa Rosa City School board member and middle school teacher says, “Racist scumbag says Chicano kid singing nat’l anthem just ‘snuck into the country’. This idiot’s apparently of color too. @A2daO.” (huffingtonpost.com)
De La Cruz received supportive tweets from the American Latino Museum as well.
Chon Noriega, director of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, ponders the thought that the term “Mexican” is being used as a derogatory term today, and wonders if it is the new “N-Word”, “It’s become the N-word of Mexican descent. Yet it’s also the name of a group of people in a neighboring country.” (huffingtonpost.com)
Could the same thing be said today for the word white then? In a country where the demographics are changing and people have to answer in hushed tones that they are white or speak English, is White the new “N-Word”?
As for the young boy and his family, they brush aside the negative and try to stay focused on the future. De La Cruz was featured on America’s Got Talent where he sang mariachi ballads. The young boy has been singing for 6 years, since he was only 5 years-old.
De La Cruz says of the controversy surrounding his performance that sparked the debate over the national anthem, “Please do not pay attention to the negative people. I am an American living the American Dream. This is part of the American life.” (huffingpost.com)
By Dawn Cranfield
Senior Correspondent / Product Specialist