(Superstar singer Marc Anthony fired back at hateful tweets after he sang “God Bless America” at the MLB All-Star game. (Photo/Getty Images))

Opinion: Marc Anthony’s response reminder Latinos are “Real Americans”

The anti-Latino tweet-hate that pop star Marc Anthony experienced this week is nothing new when it comes to Twitter. Not a day goes by where I don’t witness a news stream full of ignorance.

Go back to Mexico.
Learn English.
Be American.

So it comes as no surprise that Marc Anthony received such a response after singing “God Bless America” at this week’s MLB All-Star Game in Queens, New York. Ignore the fact that Marc Anthony was born in New York City 45 years ago, or that he is an incredibly successful crossover star, as loved in Manhattan as he is in San Juan.

But this week in Queens, Marc Anthony was just another foreigner, the “un-American brown guy” who is Puerto Rican.

Anthony became the latest example of what is becoming a disturbing pattern.

Roll out a Latino at a major sporting events in the U.S., and within seconds, sad and reclusive Twitter profiles fear the formation of a Latino planet funded by La Raza. Whether it is an interview in Spanish or a proud little boy singing the anthem at an NBA Finals game, Twitter transforms itself into the hub of neo-nativism.

People are quick to tweet out slurs and rail against the image of lost America. It happens all the time. No wonder so many in this country still don’t have any idea about U.S. Latinos. They are too busy associating Latinos with undocumented criminals eager to receive all your tax money.

This time, however, the haters picked the wrong person to hate. They bullied a megastar. Marc Anthony’s reach is much larger than a teenage kid with 200 followers who has been brainwashed to believe that the world is being invaded by a bunch of entitled Spanish speakers riding tanks into his town and stealing all the jobs from his community.

With such a reach and following, Anthony could sense that many had his back.  He was supported by not just a daytime television show, but by many non-Latinos who are still wondering why so many of their fellow Americans think a New Yorker belting out “God Bless America” is a crime against the country. The response against Anthony was ugly, but as one friend told me this week, “You would be hard pressed to find racial slurs on Twitter after a Mariah Carey solo. We need to show outrage for slurs against Anthony.” And this was coming from a friend who doesn’t even own a Marc Anthony album and wouldn’t even know what Anthony even sings.

Which is why I am actually quite happy that Marc Anthony went through this type of experience. In the end, no matter how many gold records you get or how big of a celebrity you become, Marc Anthony is just another sp*c to the ignorant ones.  So I applaud the talented star for reminding the haters that he is a New Yorker, born and raised. There is no doubt that his words educated a few.

And what if someone from another country sang “God Bless America,” written by a Jewish immigrant born in Russia named Irving Berlin? Does it even matter?

Berlin wrote the song after he was drafted in 1918, and when Kate Smith sang it in 1938, “God Bless America” became a patriotic cry against Nazi Germany. Its history took a deeper turn when New York and MLB embraced the song after 9/11. Anthony was just being the proud New Yorker that he is, and even though his words today could have gone even farther (so what if he were from another country), the fact that Anthony said them did more to stem the misperceptions of U.S. Latinos in this country than any Latino organization could ever achieve.

Let’s be real: Latinos have always been part of the U.S., and they will continue to be a permanent part of this nation.

The haters better get used to it now, because we are not leaving.

This is our country, too.

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Julio Ricardo Varela (@julito77 ) founded LatinoRebels.com in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond.  In the past 12 months, Julito represented the Rebeldes on Face the NationNPRUnivisionForbes, and The New York Times.

Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Franky Benítez and commented:

    My latest for NBC Latino

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