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Sebastien de la Cruz: The Face of the Future

Racist tweets reveal blacks and whites living in the past; Mexicans must assert presence

11-year-old San Antonio native Sebastien de la Cruz was dressed in his hometown’s team colors, a black and gray traje de charro, for his big moment: Singing the United States national anthem in front of millions watching game 3 of the NBA finals between the Spurs and Heat.

It seemed fitting that a young mariachi from a city once part of Mexico and whose team is named after an iconic piece of American culture (spurs) borrowed from Mexican cowboys (espuelas) would sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

After all, San Antonio is almost half Mexican, the seventh most populous city in the US, and the fastest growing of the top 10 largest cities in the US. With a median age of 32, it’s also one of the youngest of the largest US cities. In many ways, it’s the city of the future: Young, and increasingly Mexican.

Sebastien was not only representing his city and heritage, he was putting a face to a huge demographic shift that has taken place in the United States over the last 20 years.

At an official count of 33.7 million, Mexicans now make up 11% of the total US population. A young community (median age 25) with a growing presence in regions outside of the Southwest, Mexican Americans may surpass German Americans as the largest ancestry group by 2040.

As you may have already read, many on Twitter, both black and white, responded with hatred and ignorance when they saw little Sebastien singing the US national anthem on TV last night.

Such attacks on an 11-year-old underscores the need for US Mexicans to assert our presence by forming a collective voice to not only educate but to defend our youth and culture. If we’re the future, let’s start acting like it!

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