Salma Hayek was on David Letterman last week, and she sang the American National Anthem, a portion of the Mexican National Anthem, and admitted that she doesn't know much of the French National Anthem, even though she lives in Paris with her French husband.  But some of the Mexican media had a problem with the fact that she only sang just a bit of the Mexican Anthem, and then proceeded to sing the entire American National Anthem.  I thought it was great, and it really proved a point.

Salma grew up in Mexico, came to the US to be an actress, got her citizenship, married a French billionaire, had his kid, and is now living mostly in France.  Along the way, she embraced American culture, has embraced French culture, and told David Letterman that she teaches her daughter all about their Mexican heritage.  But the fact that she stood up, put her hand over her heart, and belted out the American anthem, really, really riled up the Mexican media.

The Mexican media has a problem with Salma not only because of the Letterman appearance, but also because Salma unwittingly kicked off a controversy a couple of months ago when she told a German magazine that her life is so different now that she hardly "has any memories of what it is to be Mexican".

Here's the thing - I think Salma is the poster child for assimilation.  I know that a lot of people think it's a dirty word that means you have to give up your cultural identity and get white-washed.  What it really means is what Salma did - she is proud of Mexican heritage, has embraced our country and became a citizen, and is now adding another layer to her life by living in Paris with her French husband.  She embraces all the influences in her life, and I don't think anyone can accuse Salma of being white-washed!

There is no denying who or what she is, or where she came from.  And the fact that the Mexican media had such a cow about her singing the American anthem kind of reminds me of how some people had a fit about the San Antonio boy who sang the anthem in mariachi gear.  When Americans questioned why he was singing dressed like that, they were called xenophobes and racists, and rightfully so.  I think the same could be said of the Mexican media and their problem with Salma.


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