It’s difficult to imagine anyone picking on an 11-year-old boy, but this week, Sebastien De La Cruz found himself at the receiving end of a racist backlash from the Twittersphere and beyond.
De La Cruz, who previously appeared on America’s Got Talent, was chosen to sing the national anthem this week at the NBA Finals game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat.
As expected from the tiny talent, the 11-year-old hit it out of the park. But what followed was a racist backlash that took its shape online; a multitude of basketball fans tweeted about how offensive they found it that someone who appeared to be Mexican was singing the The Star Spangled Banner.
Those tweets have already been reprinted so many times, we won’t give them any more space here. But suffice it to say, they were filled with xenophobia and a confounding understanding of what it means to be American.
After all, unless we can claim a Native American heritage, we are all immigrants. Or the children of immigrants. Or people who have benefited from immigration laws that allowed previous generations of our families to settle here, work here, and reap this country’s rewards.
Still, De La Cruz is taking it in stride. It seems that despite the naysaying, this child is the embodiment of what it means to be an American—he speaks truthfully, he’s brave in the face of opposition, and he refuses to be cowed by the shortsightedness of others. We should all be so lucky.
What do you think of the backlash against Sebastien De La Cruz? Let us know in the Comments.