Fifty years after the assassination of civil rights icon Medgar Evers, racism is not dead. But a handful of incidents we’ve seen this month has proved that the vast majority of Americans no longer accept it.
The most recent example comes from the nation’s warm embrace of Sebastien De La Cruz. The 11-year-old singing star became the target of hateful racist online commentary after he sang the national anthem during Game 3 of the NBA Finals in San Antonio this past Tuesday.
Much of the backlash came from Twitter, where some called him derogatory names like “wetback” and “beaner.”
“9 out of 10 chance that kid singing the national anthem is illegal,” one tweet read.
Another said “This kid is Mexican why is he singing the national anthem,” and told him to “#gohome”–an ironic directive since it turns out De La Cruz isn’t just American, but San Antonio born and raised as well.
Fortunately, he remained strong in the face of backlash, and dismissing the haters on twitter.
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 De La Cruz (@selcharrodeoro) June 12, 2013
“I think the people were talking bad because of what I was wearing and it’s not my fault.” Sebastien told KTRK, referring to the mariachi outfit he wore that night. “It’s what I love and I’m just proud to be a mariachi singer. It’s their opinion actually and if they don’t like mariachi, that’s their problem. I love it.”
By Thursday night’s game, De La Cruz had won the support of the nation. Even the president had endorsed him.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 14, 2013
The arena erupted in cheers for De La Cruz (again in a mariachi outfit) Thursday night as he was introduced by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro as “a phenomenal young man.” The crowd roared even louder as he finished the anthem.
The racist detractors were ultimately drowned out by the supporters, and not even for the first time this month.
Two young Dunkin’ Donuts employees who work in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., are being hailed for keeping calm after facing a racist rant from a customer.
Last week that customer, Taylor Chapman, uploaded a video of her chastising the employees, hurling profanities and racial slurs, including “sand-n****r”, because she claimed to have not received a receipt for her meal the night before.
At one point she says, “I’m about to nuke your whole f****** planet from Mars. You think ya’ll are tough big fat Arabs bombin’ the Trade Center? I’ll show you tough.”
Chapman says repeatedly in the video that she’s looking forward to uploading the clip to Facebook, but the reaction she’s received is anything but positive. Thousands of commenters on YouTube are bashing her for the racist language and inappropriate behavior, while praising the employees who managed to keep their cool during Chapman’s nearly 10-minute-long rant. An online fundraiser put together on behalf of the employees has raised nearly $9,000 as of Friday afternoon.
The company also stepped up on behalf of its employees.
“Dunkin’ Brands’ leadership has reached out to the two crew members featured in the video,” a spokesperson told NBC News. ”Both have been invited to an internal company event in Boca Raton later this month for further recognition.”
The Dunkin’ Donut’s Facebook page is littered with supportive comments from people cheering them on for their reaction.
That’s exactly what Cheerios brand saw after they released an ad featuring an interracial family. Initially, the ad drew racist reactions online, prompting the company to disable comments on the video, but even more people took to social media to praise the company for standing by the ad.
The overwhelmingly positive reaction coming from this anti-racist moral majority may be in part because the people attacked in these cases are a growing part of America. New Census data released this week reveals that multiracial Americans–like the young girl in the Cheerios ad–are the fastest growing segment of the American public. Asian and Hispanic American populations are growing the next fastest.
Fifty years ago, America was a place where racism was widely accepted. Today, that’s no longer the case. While it may exist on the fringes and bubble up thanks in part to social media, it is ultimately overwhelmed and drowned out by the moral majority.