What's up with THIS?
San Antonio's Sebastien De la Cruz, the 11 year old nationally known Mariachi singer who is known as El Charro de Oro, has become the subject of bizarre racist tweets after his magnificent (and last minute) rendition of the Star Spangled Banner before last night's Spurs-Heat game.
The web site Tumblr.com has compiled some of the most hateful tweets. Keep in mind these were directed at an 11 year old elementary school student whose voice is so good he was a participant on America's Got Talent.
"This lil Mexican kid snuck in the country like 4 hours ago now he's singing the anthem," said one tweet.
For the record, Sebastien was born in San Antonio, and his parents are native Texans as well.
One commenter who used the hash tag #you’re not American #go home wrote: "this kid is Mexican, why is he singing the National Anthem."
Sebastien was called on literally at the last minute after the scheduled singer was not able to attend.
Another wrote, without any knowledge whatsoever of Sebastien's background, "9 out or 10 chance that kid singing National Anthem is illegal."
Texas A&M University social scientist Dr. Chris Ferguson, who studies social interaction on line, blames 'the detachment of the Internet' for the rude comments.
"Basically, it is the lack of any kind of retribution," he said.
Another who used the hash tag #AmericaFirst wrote "Mexican kid singing the National Anthem, now that's pretty F****d up."
Ferguson says the speed and presence of social media also amplifies comments like this.
"Thirty years ago, a note like this might have gotten around a campus, maybe," he said. "Now it gets national attention."
Some posters used their real names and their pictures. An African American woman tweeted 'So why do they have this illegal immigrant singing the National Anthem now.'
Another who, perhaps appropriately calls himself 'Grand Wizard' wrote "F*** this Mexican singing the National Anthem, this is B***s***."
Sebastien, whose Facebook page says he is a student at Salinas Elementary School, was getting many supportive comments on his Facebook page this morning.
Experts say the comments also reflect the current debate over immigration reform, and the unwillingness of many people to publically criticize measures which would specially benefit some groups.
Personally, I think Sebastien was fantastic and represented San Antonio extraordinarily well.