Medina Journal-Register — It is easy for Americans to congratulate ourselves over how far we have come since the Jim Crow days of segregation and other examples of racial and religious prejudice.
No longer are there separate drinking fountains or public facilities for blacks and whites, and lunch counters are open to all races. Heck, we’ve even elected a mixed-race president of the United States.
But every once in a while we get a painful reminder that idiotic and illogical racism still exists. If anything, it is helped along by unfiltered access to social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
A visible example came Tuesday night in San Antonio, Texas, when 11-year-old Sebastien de la Cruz sang the national anthem before the nationally televised start of the NBA playoff game between the Spurs and Miami Heat.
Sebastien sang beautifully. He looked good, too, wearing a black and silver mariachi outfit celebrating the home team and his multicultural city.
For some reason, that set off a firestorm of adverse comments on Twitter, many of which were too coarse, profane and offensive to repeat here. Among the more mild in comparison were tweets such as these:
“What’s up with this little Mexican kid singin (sic) the anthem at the heat (sic) game?”
“9 out of 10 chance that kid singing national anthem is illegal.”
For the record, Sebastien was born and raised in San Antonio, and his father is a Navy veteran. The boy showed far more class than his detractors after the game.
“I knew that one day when I sing that people were going to judge me,” he said to Fox San Antonio. “That’s why over the time I’ve grown, I’ve learned that you don’t really care what people say about you, it’s what you think about yourself.”
This story has a somewhat happy ending. The Spurs invited Sebastian back Thursday night to sing the national anthem again. He was escorted in his mariachi outfit onto the court and introduced by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, and after another rousing a capella rendition, was immediately congratulated by Miami coach Erik Spoelstra and Spurs coach Greg Popovich.
Reacting to the offensive tweets, Popovich said: “I would like to say I would be shocked or surprised by the comments. But given the fact that there’s still a significant element of bigotry and racism in our nation, I’m not surprised.
“It still plagues us, obviously. And what I was surprised by was how proud these idiots were of their ignorance by printing their names next to their comments.”
Good people far outnumber the proud idiots, but it’s obvious we still have work to do to end racial prejudice in America.The Daily Star, Oneonta