There was a mini-racist controversy this week after it had been announced that an 11-year-old boy would sing the National Anthem before the Spurs-Heat NBA finals game in San Antonio. A cowardly portion of the TwitterWorld took to posting racist rants before and during the performance by a Mexican boy dressed in mariachi clothes daring to sing The Star Spangled Banner.
The fact that the boy isn't Mexican at all, but actually a U.S.-born citizen and his father served in the United States Navy doesn't seem to have gotten in way of reality. And decency. Why understand what you're saying if you have a good racist rant in you?
A lot of celebrities have come to the boy's defense, from President Obama to Eva Longoria to San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who introduced the boy.
The boy himself defended himself well in interviews. "With the racist remarks, it was just people — how they were raised. My father and my mama told me you should never judge people by how they look,” Sebastian de la Cruz said, adding, " "People don’t know; they just assume that I’m just Mexican. But I’m not from Mexico. I’m from San Antonio, born and raised, a true San Antonio Spurs fan."
But all the defense missed a couple of larger points.
One -- more than half of the San Antonio Spurs basketball team itself is made up of foreign-born players. So, it's apparently okay to cheer wildly for players who aren't American citizens at a game which is the whole, actual point of having an anthem sung, but not someone singing who you incorrectly think is from another country. (Further, the Spurs -- in a nod to the mixed race of its community -- have occasionally played games in uniforms that say, "Los Spurs.")
And two -- no defense of the little boy was even needed. Because even if the singer of the National Anthem had been from another country...who cares?! To me, it would seem quite an honor that a foreign citizen would want to pay tribute to the United States and perform the Star Spangled Banner. If the field announcer had said "Please rise as our special guest, Sir Paul McCartney, sings the National Anthem" -- how many people in Twitterville would be cheering the singer as much as the song? How many Twits would think, "How great that Sir Paul, a British citizen, wants to pay tribute to all that he believes is great and noble and wonderful and decent in America"?
But a little boy, who they think is Mexican dressed in mariachi clothes, singing to honor America? Get out those thumbs and start pressing the keyboard as fast as your little racist heart allows. Interestingly, I can think of a better thing to do with those thumbs and what orifices they could be shoved up.
Again, the fact that the boy was American makes the racist story more galling and telling. But it doesn't matter. We should love that anyone wants to honor America. And it would have been nice if leaders other than Democrats would have said so, as well.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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