Sebastien De La Cruz Ignores Haters and Becomes a Role Model
Last week I ended up sitting in a hotel room in North Carolina with my husband, who insisted on checking out Game 3 of the NBA finals. And while I wasn't interested in the game, the 11-year-old boy who stood up to sing the national anthem did catch my eye. Sebastien De La Cruz stepped up to the microphone in his mariachi-style suit and belted out what I consider to be one of the most incredible things I've heard someone sing. As I watched and listened to him, I could almost feel the pride he had not only for himself in performing for such a large crowd but also for being an American with the freedom to do so. This young boy carried himself in a professional, respectful manner and sang our national anthem beautifully.
Unfortunately, some people did not quite feel the same way as I did about Sebastien's performance and took their displeasure to social media, creating a firestorm of controversy. One website actually collected a large number of tweets and public comments made against this young boy, and to say the least, they were offensive, inappropriate and totally off-base. While it is clear that Sebastien is of Hispanic descent, there is no indication that he is an illegal immigrant, that he is not an American citizen or that he did anything wrong. However, just because of his physical appearance it was automatically assumed that he did not deserve the opportunity to sing. As a matter of fact, this 11-year-old boy accepted the chance of a lifetime and sang a beautiful rendition of the national anthem of the United States and he did a great job!
When asked to respond about the negative responses and racial remarks in a local television interview, Sebastien proved that he is a class act. "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," Sebastien said. He also took to his Twitter account and tweeted, "Please do not pay attention to the negative people. I am an American living the American Dream. This is part of the American life." For that reason alone, I say Sebastien De La Cruz is a great role model for us all. This boy has more class in his 11- year-old body than many adults have. He could have taken the hateful insults to heart and allowed them to hurt him; instead he took the high road and chalked it up to poor character on the critics' part.
And here's the best part: Despite all the drama, De La Cruz returned to sing the anthem at the start of Game 4! The Spurs asked him to return and sing, and so he did…in his beautiful mariachi outfit and all.
Bigotry and racism are all around and are not specific to one particular race, gender or lifestyle. Racism and bigotry need to be eliminated from our society. We need to think before we speak, get the facts before we react and work toward eliminating hate from our society. It's a tough job, but if everyone did their part, folks like Sebastien De La Cruz would be able to live their American Dream without having to face hate in doing so.