I've Become Hispanic

The Harris County, Texas Clerk’s office reports that nearly 150,000 voters with Hispanic sounding surnames are likely to vote in the county in 2008.

Houston, where I live, is in Harris County.

I’m pretty sure I’m one of those so-called Hispanic voters. My last name is A-Q-U-I-N-O.

I once worked with someone in Houston who after knowing me a year blurted out “You don’t seem Hispanic at all.”

Right she was—I’m Italian. At least I am everywhere except the Harris County Clerk’s office.

Or when I get an occasional piece of junk mail or a phone solicitation in Spanish.

My wife and I once went to Italy. Over there they thought she was the Italian. Really she’s Jewish. The dark curly hair tricked the Italians.

(Above is a picture of my homeland—Naples, Italy. I’m glad to report that the wife and I made it to Naples.)

Growing up on the East Side of Providence, Rhode Island, I recall many teachers who would trip over the pronunciation of my name at the beginning of the school year. (more…)