Indeed, I have on more than one occasion been on the receiving end of such insanity. Take, for example, the Tempe, Arizona, bookstore manager, who asked me in too-loud English whether I would be able to address the crowd that had shown up for my book signing in that language. English is my native (and by most measures, only) language, and the one I wrote the book in question in. Nonetheless, this woman who lives in a state with a Spanish name could not believe that a woman with a Spanish name was as American as she was.
There had also once been the “small” matter of having been overcharged by a couple of percentage points in interest on my home mortgage when I lived in Arizona, for no reason but my last name; I wasn’t aware of this until I was asked to join a class-action lawsuit against the lender, who had done likewise to tens of thousands of homeowners whose names sounded Spanish to them. People who had the same credit rating as I did, but lacked a Spanish name, had gotten better deals from this same lender.
I’d also gotten, throughout my career as a writer, many emails from anonymous psychopaths, telling me to “go back to Mexico,” in spite of my Spanish name having come from Cuba. (For the record, I enjoyed my vacation in Mexico, and would be more than happy to “go back” if these kind emailers wish to pay for my next trip to Mazatlan.)
There are countless other examples, and I’m sure lots of you reading this have your own stories along these crooked lines.