While not all that is said is true, not all that is truth is told.
If we keep sweeping under the rug the much needed national conversation about racism and denying it, we will never be able to sing the song of a racism-free society. By Fernando Andres Torres. LatinOpen.-
After superstar Marc Anthony sang God Bless America at the MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 16, the Internet site publicshaming.tumblr.com published a series of xenophobic twitter messages by some NBA and MLB fans. The attacks were vicious with epithets not worth reproducing here.
Hours after the messages were made public and responding to a reporter, Anthony stated he was born in New York. Later, on Thursday July 18, Anthony said on the Live with Kelly and Michael, show that he needed “to set the record straight. I was born and raised in the United States … and I’m more Puerto Rican than ever and more New yorker than ever.” Amazingly, a very surprised and mouth-dropped host Kelly Ripa responded “Is that true? You are kidding me! We live in a hole here! We have not heard that yet. But I’m sure that within three months we will hear about it.”
More disturbing than Ripa’s reaction – who obviously doesn’t read the bio of her guests – were some mainstream media’s punchlines that suggested Anthony’s appearance and singing created the controversy and labeled the xenophobic comments as “fan critics.”
Anthony is an entertainment figure well loved by the Latino community and he is probably not used to confronting these kind of attacks—after all he is a singer, not an activist. As many of us would have done, Anthony’s reaction was to prove his attackers’ point wrong, to defend himself by proving his nationality; ‘I’m as American as Apple Pie,” he said.
But what would happen to some of us who were not born in the US?
Paraphrasing FDR, with greater fame comes greater responsibility. Anthony must understand that the issue is not about having some kind of “permission” to represent or sing the symbols of this country. This is plainly about racism and instead of apologetically waving his ID, Anthony should move forward, call racism by its name and denounce it.
If we keep sweeping under the rug the much needed national conversation about racism and continue to deny it, we will never be able to sing the song of a racism-free society, we will never be able to create the tools to confront head on the problems that seem to be very alive in our society today. In spite of everything Anthony has millions of young Latinos fans who look up to him; watching, learning and dancing to his beat.