Even Mexican’s can Sing “God Bless America”

Wouldn’t it be amazing if Anoushka Shankar could perform a rendition of God Bless America at an MLB all-star game, her Sitar in hand, strumming a world beat, with a drummer at her side, adding color to our song? What about Femi Kuti, there at center field of the Yankee Stadium with his African rhythms? Why can’t Los Juanes love America too, or a Mariachi band? Celia Cruz would’ve been great, with Tito Puente on timbales. Why not Juan Luis Guerra? That might actually be ideal since large portions of MLB players are Dominican anyway. It might make them feel more at home. Ironically, the same people bemoaning that “Mexican” Marc Anthony singing the anthem are cheering for our darker Dominican brothers like David Ortiz and Melkys

New York native Marc Anthony recently had to defend his Americaness, after being called “spic” and “Mexican” by a small, yet vocal group of Neanderthals. Anthony rightfully pointed out that he and his Puerto Rican brothers and sisters are American too. Sure, the bigots were wrong for calling him spic and Mexican. Sure, they were clueless about basic geography. Sure, they have a one-track mind when it comes to understanding what it means to be American. But they were wrong for an even bigger reason too. What if Marc Anthony was not American at all? What if he were Mexican? So what? What’s wrong with having performers from different parts of the world singing the anthem at a sporting event?

These bigoted comments against Anthony reveal an even bigger problem beyond their ignorance that Puerto Ricans are American, and that any American born person is by default and American citizen, regardless of where their parents were born. These comments in essence reaffirm the fact that, generally speaking, Americans seem to live in a bubble, isolating themselves from the rest of the world. They reveal the thinking that America is an exceptional empire that has no room for outsiders in our paradise. It is an isolationist mentality, rooted in empire and egotism. It is that “us against them” mentality that keeps the world divided, as they try to neatly compartmentalize one’s identity in preconceived packages that dictate who can do what and where.

Many have come to Anthony’s defense, explaining and educating the ignorant about the fact that Puerto Rico is an American commonwealth and that Anthony was born in New York. As he himself put it, “I’m as American as apple pie.” Yes he is. But to stop the argument there is in essence to agree with the bigots that only Americans should be singing the anthem at a baseball game. To defend Anthony on the grounds that he too is an American, basically says that because he is American, he has the right to perform the anthem anywhere he wants. That is true. But lets take the argument further and ask the bigger question, “Why can’t a Mexican sing the anthem?”

Instead of dividing us into colors and cultures, we should continue to embrace our commonalities and the basic fundamentals that unite us, and that is of course our base humanity, regardless of what country we come from or color we are. We should argue, not only the fact that Anthony is American too, but also that we should be open to appreciating other cultures within our borders. We should work more toward embracing divergent cultures rather then isolating ourselves behind an American curtain. This idea rests at the heart of what it means to be Cosmopolitan. It is the essence of a one world, one people, and one humanity point of view. Major League Baseball might consider inviting more international artists to perform their own interpretations of the anthem, rather than folding to the mind set that only citizens can and should sing at their games. After all, isn’t America supposed to be this large melting pot?

Learn about what it means to be cosmopolitan. Learn what it means to be one human race.

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About Wilson Santos

Wilson Santos is a writer, filmmaker, music producer, DJ, spoken word artist, graphic designer, entrepreneur and college professor. And he makes a hell of a Mojito too.

Posted on July 20, 2013, in Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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