I've been on the Internet since American Online was introduced. I got my first dialup connection in the early '90s. So, I've seen more than my fair share of jackasses online. Most of them are trolls. They like to rile people up and cause a stir, probably because they have nothing better to do. This is commonplace on message boards and sites like YouTube where handles and privacy settings afford people the kind of anonymity required to say stupid crap over and over and manage to get away with it.
In the real world (or IRL as the Internet acronym goes), the types of things people say online would get them punched or shot or worse. They are the kind of things drunk people say late at night when bars close right before the cops arrive. In most instances, I just write them off as trolls or morons. But, when you go to Twitter, where people are often more closely associated with their real lives, or Facebook, where you are who your profile says you are most of the time, that tells me this is something you really believe.
Case in point, Sebastian de la Cruz. Cruz is 10. He's a singing prodigy who has been on America's Got Talent and was asked to sing the National Anthem at the Spurs playoff game against the Heat on Tuesday night. Cruz is native to San Antonio and his father is a Navy sailor. These are all-American folks in the truest sense of the word. But then you have this.
That's right, a bunch of racist assholes took to Twitter to decry Cruz singing the anthem dropping racial slurs and demanding he go home. Of course, he was home when he was singing, but that really isn't the point.
"This lil Mexican snuck in the country like 4 hours ago now he singing the anthem" -@A2daO
"This kid is Mexican why is he singing the national anthem #yournotamerican #gohome" -@Gordon_Bombay24
"Who dat lil #Wetback sangin the national anthem at the #Heat game????" -@Tj_Tha_Dj
"Can't believe they had the nerve to have a beaner sing the national anthem of AMERICA #smh" -@bdub597
Public Shaming has more complete with photos of the offenders. Not surprisingly, most of these accounts are now gone. A couple continue to fight the whatever fight, at least one by threatening essentially everyone who tweets at him to meet him in person. I'm sure he wouldn't say the same to the kid's soldier father, but then again, maybe he would.
Whatever the case, it's good that people do this. I'm glad they put a public face on their private feelings. It gives them a chance to be outed for their ignorance. Maybe it even gives them a chance to see that they are way off base. If not, it tells the rest of us who to avoid.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.