NBA fans attack 11-year-old's national anthem with racist tweets

Published: Thursday, June 13 2013 1:10 p.m. MDT

Sebastien De La Cruz Sings National Anthem at NBA Finals

Although many San Antonio Spurs fans had much to celebrate after Tuesday night's solid win over the Miami Heat, one 11-year-old fan, born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, hardly had time to celebrate as many negative tweets were directed at him regarding his race and ethnicity.

Sebastien De La Cruz is a Mexican-American performer and was asked to perform the national anthem to open Game 3 of the NBA finals after country singer Darius Rucker was unable to make it to the event in time. Sebastien's performance received overwhelming support from the crowd, yet online commenters held nothing back with several negative and distasteful remarks.

"This kid is Mexican, why is he singing the national anthem. #yournotamerican #gohome" from Ben Koeck.

"Miami=cute white girl sings national anthem. San Antonio= gets a little Mexican to sing it ... I thought this was America!!!" from Zac doc.

While there were many other negative comments, an overwhelming number of tweets began to call out those making racist remarks. Several of the Twitter accounts with offending remarks have now been deleted.

Although this isn't the first time Sebastien has received such comments (his father explained it was a problem when Sebastien competed on "America's Got Talent" in 2012), the 11-year-old mariachi singer remains positive.

"When he was on 'America's Got Talent,' he faced racism there, too. You can't satisfy everyone," Sebastien's father Juan De La Cruz told CNN.

On his own Twitter account, Sebastien posted: "Please do not pay attention to the negative people. I am an American living the American Dream. This is part of the American life."

Sebastien was also appreciative of those who posted positive comments regarding his performance.

"On the positive remarks, I just want to thank everybody for their support," Sebastien said at a news conference Wednesday. "With the racism remarks, to be honest, it's just the people how they were raised. My father and my mother told me that you should never judge people by how they look. You should judge them on the inside. And the saying that I go by is never judge a book by its cover."

Other racist remarks have also surfaced this week around Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia. On Tuesday, Kaine presented his entire speech regarding an immigration bill on the Senate floor in Spanish.

Kaine tweeted that he chose to deliver his speech in Spanish to better explain the bill to the 40 million Spanish speakers in the United States.

Presenting the speech in Spanish provided Kaine with the opportunity to use the language he learned while in Honduras. According to the Washington Post, Kaine joined with Jesuit missionaries, in between his time at Harvard Law School, to help run a Roman Catholic school in Honduras.

Since his speech, many negative tweets have begun to circulate online.

"Senator Tim Kaine is reading a speech in Spanish on the floor of the United States Senate, in DC. No MX City, but DC. This is outrageous!" from Any Ramirez.

"This guy should have had his microphone cut off. A disgusting display. This is the USA not Mexico" from CindyBP.

Many other comments tagged Kaine as a "traitor," but there were also several others who responded to Kaine positively. Many commented regarding the support Kaine showed for a diverse America.

"After so much talk about English proficiency, kind of awesome for @TimKaine to deliver his Senate floor speech on #immigration in Spanish" tweeted Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum.

Although Hispanics currently make up 16 percent of Americans, according to a recent Census Bureau report, the rising generation in America will be more diverse.

"For the first time, America's racial and ethnic minorities now make up about half of the under-5 age group," Huffington Post reported Thursday. "It's a historic shift that shows how young people are at the forefront of sweeping changes by race and class."

After reviewing statistics gathered from the Census report, projections have been made that minorities will make up more than half of children under 18 in America within the next five years.

Email: spetersen@deseretnews.com

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