I Don't Get the Controversy Over Marc Anthony's "God Bless America"

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I have to admit that when I saw the words "Marc Anthony," "God Bless America" and "controversy" in the same sentence, I wondered for a moment if Pit Bull showed up with J Lo and it threw Anthony into a tizzy. Anthony sang the song before the MLB All-Star game Wednesday night in New York City, but it wasn't some TMZ-infused scandal that caused the problem. It was the response from people on Twitter.

The Tumblr site Public Shaming has been exposing racist comments on social media for a while now. The responses from social media users are often as stupid as they are predictable, but for some reason, the Anthony responses were particularly confusing to me. When Sebastian De La Cruz sang the National Anthem in San Antonio during the NBA Finals dressed in full mariachi gear, he seemed like an easy target for bigoted morons and, unfortunately, he was, regardless of the fact he and his family are from San Antonio and his father is in the military.

Anthony was born and raised in New York. He's been performing throughout the United States for YEARS and was married to Jennifer Lopez. He was standing there singing "God Bless America" (really, really well I might add) in a button down. He wasn't dancing around in a sombrero and singing in Spanish like some caricature from a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

But, and here's what really bothers me, who says there is anything wrong with that?

Growing up in the suburbs as a white, pasty kid of German and Danish heritage, I dreamt of being different. My heroes were Dr. J and Bruce Lee. I wanted to learn Mandarin and shoot hoops with my black friends in neighborhoods that made my parents nervous. As I got older, I learned Latin music and played rock en Español. Like most Houstonians, I now regularly eat what could be deemed the official food of Houston: Mexican.

To me, cultural differences are fascinating. They don't alienate me from people. They bring me closer and fuel my curiosity.

Some believe this is a watering down of America's culture. But America was built on the culture of everyone -- from Native Americans (the only true native sons and daughters) to the Italian immigrants who gave us pizza (perhaps the most American of foods outside of hot dogs, which by the way, were invented in Germany) to the African slaves who invented jazz, the greatest American-born art form, on the streets of New Orleans.

I honestly don't get people who find these things to be anathema to America. They are as American as apple pie, which was technically invented in England.

As Bill Murray's character in the movie Stripes said, "Our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world." We are mutts. That is not something to be denigrated or reviled. It's not even something to be celebrated. It is simply the reality of who we are as Americans. What makes us so resilient is how we adapt and redefine ourselves with every new addition, not only out of necessity, but also out of the desire to set ourselves apart.

Geneticists know that the best way to wipe out a race of people is to in-breed. Over time, genes become mutated and are more susceptible to disease and deformity. The only way to prevent this is to introduce new gene pools into the mix.

America is a massive cultural and genetic experiment. It sets us apart from virtually every other world society. Anthony's performance is not representative of the downfall of the country, it is an example of our strength. The abhorrent, narrow-minded response from some on Twitter is simply a reminder of how far we have to go.




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16 comments
kreyer
kreyer

What about all the bright white Hollywood celebrities who perform the anthem and can't even get the lyrics right? I'll take Marc Anthony and Sebastian De La Cruz (both Americans, by the way) any day over that.

Anse
Anse

What's crazy about it is that the racists refuse to acknowledge their racism, which I've always thought is odd. If you're willing to say something so incredibly ignorant and offensive anyway, why not just wave the racist flag proudly? Why not just own it? But this denial about the problem is as old as the problem itself. These dumbasses will no doubt call you a race-baiter, too. 

wordlover
wordlover

Wow, props to you. You wrote so eloquently what I was also feeling.  By contrast, I wrote a post on my blog laced with expletives and anger about this same thing..  I was pissed.  I literally felt sick to my stomach after reading a few of the comments on Public Shaming were downright hateful and spiteful and just stupid.  Really???  I just don't get it. They attack a little boy who nailed the National Anthem.   He sang it so much better than say, oh, Roseane Barr, a few years back.  (ok, a LOT of years back)  They attack Marc Anthony for singing God Bless America because why? Because he's Mexican? Bahahaha, he's not.  He's Puerto RIcan.  And last time I checked, Puerto Rico is a part of the United States.  The whole thing was just stupid.  I hate ignorant people sometimes.  :)

Carl Tompkins
Carl Tompkins

There are people who are easily offended and looking for reasons to be offended. While Im a spiritual person, Im not particularly religious. Do under others etc etc etc. What does offend me is fake reality TV (all of them are). America sure has far too easily and willingly accepted a dumbing down of our society who makes fun of hard working successful people and hold no-talent low morality fools as role models. What happened to us in the past 3 decades?

Michael Terry
Michael Terry

I think he could have done it better but have no problem with him doing it.

Farrah Sczykutowicz
Farrah Sczykutowicz

What makes me mad is that it's being made into such a big deal. How in the H*ll do people seem to think that only white people are American???? If the people that think like this contiue to procreate, I fear for our society and our country.

John Sczykutowicz
John Sczykutowicz

Americans aren't just white folks. I know that's how republicans think but it's not true

Zachary White
Zachary White

But is anyone really surprised? Not too many things shock me anymore, especially "controversies"

NewRider Ivan
NewRider Ivan

I bothered me that they got a skeleton to sing it.

Robin Hardy Cooper
Robin Hardy Cooper

People with toooooo much time on their hands and don't know how to entertain themselves!!!!

jasonofthesea
jasonofthesea

White people have fucked over so many peoples it is so ridiculous.  Like when we discovered America!  And everywhere else!  I find especially interesting the part where we brought Africans to this country, committed terrible, unspeakable harm against them, and now they are treated like they aren't wanted here. 

I and I are one in the same


robinvtx
robinvtx

society as a whole has become so nasty, twisted and evil, that it's frightening. Who knows why some say the ugly and ignorant things they say. Sometimes I wonder if they just don't have  anything better to do. Time to get a life.

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