On June 11th Sebastien De La Cruz went in front of thousands of San Antonio Spurs fans to sing the national anthem. See video here. This was not new to him since he has been used to being in front of people singing most of his young life. His notoriety came when he was featured on America's Got Talent last year. However the response he got from racists on the internet was new. Twitter went nuts with racist tweets like the ones below.
TJ THA DJ @TJ_Tha_Dj: "Who dat lil #Weback sangin the national anthem at the #Heat game???"
Dalton Gingell @ D_nig_: "Mexican kind singing the National Anthem now that's pretty fucked up! #AmericaFirst"
THE_GREAT_WHITEÔäó @bdub597: "Can't believe they had the nerve to have a beaner sing the national anthem of AMERICA #smh"
Here are some facts these racists may not have known:
1. Sebastien is from San Antonio
2. He is Mexican-American
3. A Canadian butchered the national anthem a few weeks ago. Where was your outrage then?
Sebastien could've gone off on these racists but instead decided to respond with class.
Sebastien De La Cruz @selcharrodeoro: "Please do not pay attention to the negative people. I am an American living the American Dream. This is part of the American life."
That's right Sebastien, you are living the American dream and we commend you for being so classy. It is clearly a representation of the way you were brought up. Likewise the tweets sent out against you reflect the way those bigots were brought up. With hate.
Sadly this is not the first time this has happened to a talented Latino singer it was in 1968 when Jose Feliciano had a very similar experience after singing the national anthem at the fifth game at the World Series in Detroit. See video here. Jose Feliciano reflected on this event:
"The year was 1968. I was only 23 years old and had been invited to sing the National Anthem at the fifth game of the World Series in Detroit -- the Tigers against the St. Louis Cardinals. Before more than 54,000 fans and countless millions tuned in to televisions and radios around the country, I walked nervously out to left field with my guide dog, Trudy, and my guitar.
I had set out to sing an anthem of gratitude to a country that had given me a chance; that had allowed me, a blind kid from Puerto Rico -- a kid with a dream -- to reach far above my own limitations. I wanted to sing an anthem of praise to a country that had given my family and me a better life than we had had before.
I played it slowly and meaningfully, feeling the vastness of the stadium and the presence of so many people. But before I had finished my performance I could feel the discontent within the waves of cheers and applause that spurred on the first pitch -- though I didn't know what it was about.
Soon afterwards I found out a great controversy was exploding across the country because I had chosen to alter my rendition of the National Anthem to better portray my feelings of gratitude.Veterans, I was being told, had thrown their shoes at the television as I sang; others questioned my right to stay in the United States and still others just attributed it to the times, feeling sad for the state of our country. But thankfully, there were many who understood the depth and breadth of my interpretation. Those, young and old, who weren't jaded by the negativity that surrounded anything new or different. Yes, it was different but I promise you -- it was sincere.
The controversy shadowed me for many years, but I'm thankful I had the opportunity to perform our Anthem in a way that was intensely personal to me, yet still maintained the impact and meaning of our nation's song. I am also thankful to see that today it is common to hear our National Anthem performed in a stylized fashion and that it is now acceptable, indeed admirable, for a musician to deliver a personal interpretation of our National Anthem."
Sadly the racism in our country continues even in the 21st century. The times are changing and those bigots will unfortunately be stuck in their old world way of thinking and eventually will go the way of the dinosaurs and become extinct.