While I’m admittedly more apple pie than beans & rice, I have never felt my heritage as a Mexican-American detracted from my ability to honor my country with the gift god has given me–my voice.
I love singing our national anthem. I feel like it’s the biggest contribution I can personally give to my country–the Unites States of America. It’s the country my father has known his whole life. The country my grandfathers fought for in Europe and Southeast Asia, respectively. Even my great-grandparents called the New Mexico territory their home.
My connection to Mexico has to do more with how my last name sounds and where I grew up along the border than my national identity. Never in my wildest dreams would I think that any American would think less of me for singing our national hymn because I’m not a ‘Smith’ and I dont have blonde hair and blue eyes.
However, given the recent outpouring of ignorance and hate on social media following the performance of American patrotic anthems at major sporting events by incredibly-talented Hispanic-American singers, I can’t help but to think that somewhere in the stands, some poor misguided soul is thinking, “Why is that darn ‘beaner’ singing our song?”
I’m fortunate to have never had to address that issue in the past. Maybe it’s because my rendition moved them to tears. Maybe it’s because I tower over most folks at 6’5″. Either way, I’ll never apologize to anyone for honoring my country,
The only apology you’ll get from me:
“Sorry, this American sings it better.”