Snapshot image above via YouTube video
First it was the Cheerios commercial, and now it’s the Hispanic 11 year old boy who performed the national anthem at the NBA Finals that have riled up those with racist sentiments. To view this amazing performance on YouTube go here.
I don’t want to waste my words, nor my time, by addressing the people who share racist sentiments. But instead, I have written this letter to Sebastien De La Cruz and all of my young Hispanic American people with words of encouragement and words from the song, “I am proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood.
These words are from the heart and some of these lessons I learned the hard way and others I ignored when I was young, because I was trying to fit in and prove that I was more like my non-Hispanic friends than I was Mexican.
Dear Sebastien De La Cruz,
Mi amigo, rise above the ignorance that surrounds you, don’t ever stoop down to that level. You will be the better person for it.
“I’d thank my lucky stars,
to be livin here today.
Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can’t take that away.”
Learn to bridge both of your worlds. When you can’t, just accept them for what they are.
Learn to ignore those who want to bring you down and don’t want to see you succeed.
“And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.”
Don’t ever forget from where your ancestors come from and embrace your Latino heritage, even if you weren’t born in Latin America.
Learn about your past, live in your present, and embrace your future.
“And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.”
You don’t have to choose between one culture or another, embrace them both and you will be a better, well-rounded person as a result.
Don’t get caught up on labels: Latino, Chicano, Hispanic, American, Mestizo…
Be proud of your language. Be proud of yourself.
Be proud of the family values your great grand abuelitos worked so hard to pass on to your parents and your parents’ parents.
And lastly, don’t allow anyone to make you feel ashamed of your roots, tu raza.
Sebastien, you’re an inspiration to many on how you’ve handled these remarks with such class, respect and pride in who you are. Blessings, my little amigo. You truly are going to succeed, not just because you have an amazing voice, but also because you have risen above the derogatory remarks and not once stooped down to their level.
Sincerely, Mari Hernandez-Tuten
unless otherwise stated all images above are via istockphoto.com